DEMOLITION work has started at the former Leigh Girls’ Grammar School despite a long and national battle to save it from the bulldozer.

Save Our School campaigners were fuming after workmen started to strip the roof on Tuesday.

Wigan Council have ignored pleas from The Princes Regeneration Trust in January and SAVE British Heritage this week to abandon their plans to demolish the historic Edwardian red brick landmark in Windermere Road.

Work on felling the building is expected to be completed next week - while the children at the joint new super school for the former Sacred Heart and Leigh Central Primary Schools are on holiday Former teacher and campaign leader, Mrs Avis Freeman, who fought for the building to be retained and used as a heritage centre, said: “It is almost criminal that Leigh should lose this building. All along there has been no reason to demolish it.

“It is a sound building and it is a devastating blow for the town which has so few good buildings left. This was one of them.

“Leigh is losing something special. All advice has been ignored and it seems obvious that no-one was going to make the council change their minds.

“It is appalling. I can’t express my feeling strongly enough I am so angry and saddened. The school meant a lot to an awful lot of people in the area and they are going to be very disappointed to see this happening.

SAVE British Heritage this week sent a letter to the executive director of children and young people’s services, Mr Nick Hudson Spokesman William Palin, said: “Given the weight of local and national opposition against the proposed demolition of the old Leigh Grammar School building, we urge the council to abandon these plans and look at how to retain and reuse the former school.

“SAVE would be happy to offer its expertise to help the council adopt a new, alternative use for the existing school building. We can if needed, introduce people with first hand knowledge in the field who have successfully resolved challenges of this kind in the past.”

Before the work started parents of children at the £6m school claimed that protestors’ plans to save the building, vacated by Leigh Central, were not a viable option.

Central school parent Karen Whittaker said: “Views that the school could easily function with the old building remaining were not a viable option.

“The health and safety of pupils was not being considered. Pupils from three schools arrive at a solitary drop off point and the traffic is horrendous. Alternative entrances are desperately needed on the opposite side of the new build to ease both the congestion and the very real potential danger to children.”

Mother and child minder to Sacred Heart pupils, Mrs Pam Roberts said: “If the grammar school does stay and it gets used, then for my child’s safety I will be changing schools.”