PLANS for the new Belfairs High School in Leigh have been given the unanimous support of Southend Council’s development control committee.

Headteacher John Duprey said the school wanted to work with local people who had objected to the size and possibility the buildings might overlook their land.

At the meeting, neighbour Kathy Shore said because of the height of the scheme, the new school should be built further away from the boundaries of existing homes at the front of the site.

Mr Duprey said planning the new school, being built under the Government’s Pathfinders scheme, had been an integral part of his life for more than two years.

The position of the extension was necessary to keep the existing buildings open during the construction period.

He added: “This is just too big an opportunity to miss.”

Andrew Meddle, head of planning, said there had been 257 letters in favour of the application, compared with only 15 objections. Gwen Horrigan (Con. West Leigh) welcomed the proposals and said the rebuilding of Belfairs was a vital investment in the future of Southend.

“It is the first school in Southend to be involved in the project to rebuild or refurbish all the secondary schools in the country.”

Anna Waite, councillor responsible for planning said she was speaking on behalf of John Lamb, West Leigh councillor and the council’s deputy leader.

He was unable to attend the meeting because he was in Cambridge on council business.

She said: “He is extremely anxious these proposals should go through because of their importance to the area.”