A FORMER school which has sat empty for more than 15 years could be transformed into 21 new homes.

Tranent Infant School was last used in 2007 and has repeatedly been the target of vandals.

Now, potential developers have warned that “early intervention” is needed to prevent the building, which dates back to 1928, “deteriorating beyond economical repair”.

Proposals have been lodged with East Lothian Council’s planning department to breathe new life into the site.

Construction firm Dow McCartney Ltd is looking to create 14 houses and seven flats on the land, off the town’s Sanderson’s Wynd.

Documents with the local authority highlight the condition of the building, with a survey carried out five years ago.

At that time, it was estimated that about £3.5 million investment was needed to “return it to a sound state of repair in its current use”.

The building has “deteriorated further since then, along with significant inflation exacerbated by the pandemic, war and energy crisis”.

Last year, a further assessment estimated that about £4.5 million investment was required.
According to a design and access statement included with the new proposals, “the premises have suffered from neglect, a lack of maintenance and vandalism”.

Issues range from “a major vermin problem internally with dead pigeons and guano carpeting all floors” to evidence of “significant vandalism throughout”.

The document reads: “The condition has clearly worsened since the last survey report was undertaken, necessitating additional works. 

“The site is now on the ‘Buildings at Risk Register’ (Scotland) and, in our professional opinion, is at risk of deteriorating beyond economical repair.

“This would be regrettable given its history, association with a prominent architect and iconic status in the locality. 

“Clearly, early intervention is required to prevent this.”

The development would feature a range of two, three and four-bedroom properties.

The design and access statement describes the retention of the u-shape building 
layout as “fundamental”.

It notes that the gym hall has been divided into four flats.

The developer states: “Residential housing would be formed, whilst still reading as the original school.

“Given that it has been lying empty since 2008 (with no other viable schemes proposed, resulting in it currently residing on the ‘buildings at risk register’) and forming an eyesore blighted by anti-social behaviour to the detriment of its locality, the designs provide a sustainable future for the site and its surroundings, and contribute to the character of the locality.”

Tranent is now home to three primary schools – Windygoul Primary School, which opened in 2007; Sanderson’s Wynd Primary School, which opened the following year; and St Martin’s RC Primary School, which dates back to 1903.