Councillors in Barnoldswick look set to be thwarted in their bid to buy the soon-to-be-former Barnoldswick C of E Primary School.
The York Street school will soon be replaced by a primary school on land at West Craven High Technology College.
Councillors on the West Craven Area Committee had expressed an interest in buying the old school and turning it into an open green space for the town’s residents.
“This is a densely built-up area in Barlick and there isn’t anywhere for the children to play,” said Coun David Whipp, chairman of the area committee. “This is an ideal opportunity to create open space.”
But the site could cost more than £250,000 to purchase from its owners.
Glenys Barnes, from Pendle Council’s property agents Liberata, said: “The trustees of the school are the Diocesan Board of Finance. The board has both a legal and statutory requirement to obtain market value from the disposal of the site. How this is obtained is not stipulated.
“The proceeds from the sale of the site (less disposal costs) would be handed to Lancashire County Council to invest into the replacement site.”
Education chiefs at county hall have told Liberata that there are ongoing legal issues between the county and the diocese relating to a clause in the deeds of the York Street site.
A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “We are still working with our colleagues at the diocese about the future of the site of Barnoldswick C of E Primary as they own it. However, any decision on the disposal of the site will be taken by the diocese according to the relevant regulations.”
If a request to transfer the school at nil value was made, Pendle Council would need to provide reasons to LCC’s children’s and young people’s directorate why the use for open space was the most desirable outcome for the site.
“There’s a discussion to be had,” said Coun Whipp. “Both authorities say they don’t need any money (to build the new school), so it’s a simple matter of handing the land over free of charge.
“It could have been part of the planning permission to build the new school. This could be an opportunity missed – one of a lot of issues swept under the carpet.”