LESS than six weeks after Lyndale School closed its doors for the last time Wirral councillors have today approved plans to immediately demolish it and sell the land for property development.

The move draws the final curtain on a hard-fought campaign to save Lyndale which was widely regarded as a sanctuary for some of the most vulnerable children in the borough and beyond.

Heartache, anger and a sense of betrayal were felt by parents and staff after the local authority ruled it was in the children's best interests to close it down.

A report considered by cabinet members on Monday approved that the Eastham site was declared "surplus to requirements."

Wirral Globe:

Pupil Scott Howell with his carer Carolyn during the final leavers assembly

Councillors will now have to seek permission from the Government to sell the plot including its playing fields "subject to public consultation."

But the report stresses the school must be bulldozed at once - to avoid it being vandalised.

"Not demolishing the building until written permission from the secretary of state is received could result in many months where vandalism of the site is likely and costly security measures would be required to protect the empty building and provide a safe residential environment.

"Demolishing the building immediately would overcome these risks and is allowable within the guidance from the Department for Education."

The demolition job will cost an estimated £200,000.

Property consultants already have been appointed and "will undertake a promotional exercise to advertise the availability of the property/land."

Cash received from selling the site "will be re-invested in sports, recreation or education facilities in the borough."

A sensory garden for Lyndale's pupils paid for by Globe readers in an £80,000 fundraising campaign presumably now will be bulldozed along with everything else.

News of the campaign reached 10 Downing Street and Prime Minister at the time Tony Blair sent us a message of support - his wife Cherie visited the school to see the garden for herself in 2004.

Later she had a special word for our readers: "People have made a wonderful effort to raise funds for this project. It's so nice to see newspapers - especially local newspapers - really doing something for the community.

"It's been marvellous to see the children here reaching their full potential. I've seen kids in the hydrotherapy pool floating free in a way that they don't otherwise get the chance.

"To be honest, when I think of what I have to do - and I think of what some of the mothers I have met here do, and some of the women here have two children in this school - my problems are nothing in comparison."

Wirral Globe:

Emily Faulkner with teaching assistant Pat Merrick signing 'Somewhere over the Rainbow' at the last assembly

Labour group housing chief Cllr George Davies is fronting the sell-off call and in his foreword to the cabinet report he says: “Now the former pupils of the Lyndale School are receiving their education at the other excellent schools in the borough, it falls on the council to determine the best use of the old school building and surrounding land.

"Making sure we make the best possible use of every public building and asset is vital – to get best value for Wirral residents, to invest in and create jobs, and homes and to protect and improve Wirral’s local environment.

"This is equally true for this site; we must do everything we can to find the best possible use for the land for the benefit of all local residents."

Wirral Globe:

Alex Brie whose mum Chrissie fought tirelessly to keep his school open

Parents fought a two-year battle to save their much-loved school after Wirral director of children's services Julia Hassall announced in November 2013 she was "minded" to close it down.

But their efforts were in vain and in September of 2014 a meeting of the ruling Labour cabinet unanimously voted for closure - to the dismay of heartbroken mums and dads.

Council leader Cllr Phil Davies told parents at the time that his cabinet had entered the meeting to decide Lyndale's fate "with open minds" - before handing out a pre-printed recommendation to swing the axe.

Parents then vowed to overturn that decision and a fighting fund to pay for a judicial review raised £10,000.

But it became clear to campaigners the town hall had won the day and the collected money was recently shared among local charities, including Claire House hospice.

Suspicions were aroused that the sell-off was a fait accompli long before a public consultation exercise asking for the community's views had been completed, when Lyndale found itself on the council's asset register valued at £2.7m.

When questioned by the Globe a town hall spokesman told us Lyndale was "automatically" included: "Every year as part of its financial statement Wirral Council is required to produce an asset register.

"This is routine requirement for all local authorities.

"The Lyndale School is listed each year under ‘plant, property and equipment’ because it is not an investment site."

Campaigning mum Chrissie Brie said: "We heard about the demolition last week and it's not really come as a huge shock to us simply because the building was left to rot over the last ten years we were there.

"The council never made any large repairs to the school. So to actually fix everything that needed fixing would now actually cost a lot of money.

Wirral Globe:

Mum Chrissie Brie walking through Lyndale last October

"I know the school governors asked a couple of times for repairs to be carried out, and I remember having a meeting with the director of children's services when we asked for new windows, which we never got.

"During the consultation however the council did state that they would look at every option with the building, especially as it was one of the very few council buildings with a hydrotherapy pool and good wheelchair access and this could be put to good use.

"But as we have always said, the decision to close Lyndale was made long before the consultation even started - and I'm guessing the decision to demolish it was as well."

Liberal Democrat group leader Cllr Phil Gilchrist, who represents Eastham ward, said "Demolition is the last step for a building with so many memories, where dedicated and experienced staff served children so well.

"Before the Lyndale School it was Glenburn Infants School. I want to see some of the sale proceeds invested in our local community, improving local facilities.

"The sale will give the council a substantial sum.

"The new housing will provide more council tax. It’s only fair that the immediate community should see something in return ."

The school held its emotionally-charged final assembly in July. No one from the council attended.

Read Craig Manning's report of the children's tearful goodbyes here.

Globe Comment: Council assured us this was not a land grab to raise capital.

Wirral Globe:

A sign placed near the doorway to Lyndale on the school's last day