Historic building is hit by vandals just days after refurbishment is completed

Councillor Graham Campbell outside the Queen Elizabeth School in Godmanchester, before the refurbish

Councillor Graham Campbell outside the Queen Elizabeth School in Godmanchester, before the refurbishment - Credit: Archant

A community building has been vandalised just days after it reopened following a major refurbishment scheme - and before a reopening ceremony could even take place.

Godmanchester Town Council said an estimated £500 damage had been caused to the historic Queen Elizabeth School by vandals who ripped a drainpipe off the wall and threw it in the river.

The incident was captured on CCTV and the footage is being sent to the police who have been informed about the damage.

The vandalism took place at 2.23am on Saturday after four youths were seen outside the hall, which only reopened to users on April 3 after several months of closure while improvements were carried out.

Deputy town clerk, Vicky Pryce said: “It is incredibly disappointing because it has only just reopened after refurbishment which cost over £300,000.

“The work has only just been finished. We saw on Monday that an aluminium downpipe had been removed from the building and from the CCTV footage we could see four young males come into the car park and hang about for half an hour or so.

“Prior to leaving the pulled off the downpipe and threw it into the river.”

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She said that the incident was registered at 2.23am and, despite the time, other people could be seen in the area and may have witnessed what happened.

Ms Pryce hoped that reports of the vandalism would encourage anyone with information to come forward.

She said the town council had also experienced a spate of vandalism at the Judith’s Field recreation area off London Road with broken glass being strewn over the games area.

This area also has CCTV cameras in place.

The council has not had the chance to set the official reopening date for the building.

The Queen Elizabeth Grammar School dates back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I who gave the authority for her name to be used for the building and it remained a school for nearly 400 years.

However, just after the Second World War, the poor condition of the building was criticised in a report and pupils were transferred elsewhere, with the school finally closing its doors in 1948.

It has been in use as a community hall and the council has now carried out an internal and external refurbishment, with the project receiving a £50,000 grant from WREN funded through the Landfill Communities Fund.

Anyone with information about the incident can contact Cambridgeshire police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.