Vandalism and attempt to start fire at ‘dangerous’ former Thornhill College site

Vandalism at the former Thornhill College.
Vandalism at the former Thornhill College.

Sinn Féin Councillor for the Culmore area, Tony Hassan, has condemned those repsonsible for vandalism at the former Thornhill College premises on Culmore Road.

Colr. Hassan said that those involved went on a wrecking spree at the vacant complex last Friday night.

“The former Thornhill College was the subject of yet another break-in at the weekend by vandals who came prepared with equipment to pull off shutters and then go on a wrecking spree within the buildings,” he said.

“This former school complex has been a magnet for anti-social activity and thieves over the past year. It has been subjected to numerous arson attempts and the latest attack on Friday night saw materials piled together to prepare for a fire but by sheer good luck it either didn’t take hold or the culprits were disturbed.”

Colr. Hassan warned that there had been reports that youths are being dropped off in cars to congregate on this area.

“This behaviour and use of this redundant school complex is a huge concern for residents and the community.

“We would urge parents to know where their young ones are and advise them to stay away from this precarious site. These buildings and lands are in a very dangerous state and are not a playground or safe place to congregate.”

Colr. Hassan said that there was a planning application lodged with the Council with proposals to convert the redundant site into a retirement village and riverside walk etc. Under the newly released Strategic Growth Plan for Derry and Strabane 2017-2032 it predicts the over 65 population in the district will increase by 66% in that period.

“Sinn Féin are committed to ensuring that we plan for this projected growth in the aging population within our area and we are actively working to ensure our elderly are catered for in terms of suitable accommodation and care,” Colr. Hassan said.

“With this in mind we will be asking Derry and Strabane Council to expedite processing the planning application for this site.”