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Essex County Council strongly deny plans to put housing on Deanes School site
11:00am Thursday 5th September 2013 in News
THE Deanes School site will be retained for education, according to the county council.
Essex County Council said any other suggestions for the school site, in Daws Heath Road, Thundersley, were “rumour and speculation”.
Ray Gooding, county councillor responsible for education, has taken the decision to shut the Deanes despite a committee recommending it should be saved.
Concerns have since been raised over the future of the site by two senior councillors in Castle Point, who fear the land could be sold off for development.
Dave Blackwell said any plans for housing would be fiercely fought, while Colin Riley believes a residential school will be created for special needs children.
Yesterday County Hall strongly denied any plans for housing.
A spokesman said: “Essex County Council has consistently responded to this speculation that, with the exception of the future of Glenwood School, and its location on the site, should the Deanes School close there are no further plans for the Deanes School site. We plan to keep the site for educational use. Any other suggestions are rumour and speculation.”
County councillor Mr Blackwell said Mr Gooding’s decision to close the school in 2016 was “purely down to money”.
He said: “Essex County Council has put money before people. The Conservatives knew this was on the cards, but it was all kept quiet.
They didn’t want to bring it out before the county council elections.
“There’s no doubt in my mind it’s looking to sell some assets to save money. It will be keen to try to sell this land for development, but will come up against Castle Point Council.”
Mr Riley’s “gut feeling” is the land will be used to build a residential centre for special needs children and the sitewould also be home to Glenwood special needs school, currently in Rushbottom Lane, Thundersley.
He said: “The people who will not gain from this decision are those pupils at Glenwood. This will delay the rebuild by another 18 months to two years.
“It’s a decision that’s beyond me. No one is benefitting from it and I will do all I can to fight this and try to keep it open.”
Glenwood and Deanes schools were due to merge as part of a £22.5million rebuild project, but that was thrown into doubt when the county council earmarked Deanes for closure in May.
The governing body of Deanes – which effectively owns the buildings – would have to give permission for a new Glenwood school to be built on the land before 2016, the year Deanes is set to close.
After the Deanes’ closure the ownership of the land would pass to the County Council.
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