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Deanes closure: 150 new homes nearby "ignored"
6:00am Friday 27th September 2013 in News
COUNTY education bosses failed to take account of a major housing development just yards from the Deanes School when they considered its closure, the Echo can reveal.
In a letter passed to the Echo, Castle Point Council accuses County Hall chiefs of ignoring a major development of 150 new homes just 750m from the school.
Insiders suggest this undermines county council figures predicting dwindling pupil numbers – a key factor in the county council’s justification for the closure of the school.
Mrs Challis and Mr Marchant gave the information about the development to the county council as part of the consultation over the future of the school.
The revelation has angered campaigners who have already raised fears the county council was acting on flawed statistics in its argument to close Deanes.
However, the latest figures used in the consultation by Essex County Council show only 712 new homes being built in the area by 2022.
Among the developments not included in the figures is one for 150 homes in Kiln Road, Thundersley, which is already being built by David Wilson Homes.
If County Hall bosses used Castle Point Council’s figures, an additional 500 secondary school places would need to be provided before 2031.
Desi McKeown, assistant headteacher at Deanes, said: “We felt they had not included the large majority of developments, which is why we requested a meeting with Castle Point Council, who were upset the right figures had not been used.
“We are really concerned councillor Ray Gooding was presented with flawed datawhen he made his decision.
“Potentially, it is not just the housing figures in Castle Point that are wrong, but all over.
However, with these figures alone, we feel we can prove we are viable.
“We will be presenting him with our own figures based on the correct information from Castle Point Council, which – using Essex County Council’s own methodology – showwe are viable and will be able to have 120 pupils a year, which is what we need to stay open.”
An Essex County Council spokesman said: “Correspondence from the chief executive of Castle Point Council is referred to explicitly in the decision report published on September 2. The potential housing figures are discussed in detail in this report.
“We continue to discuss with officers and members at Castle Point Council the detailed figures and have recently had further communication about secondary school places needed up to 2031, if the council succeeds in building all the homes that it plans.
“This is helpful and we will continue keeping in touch with Castle Point Council.”
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