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County seeks full market value for redundant schools

Thursday, 11th March 2010.

School sites in Haverhill which will no longer be needed after re-organisation will have to make their full market value for Suffolk County Council.

Haverhill Partnership heard this morning (Thursday) that there might be an opportunity for community use, but only if the idea would realise the full value of the site for the council.

Maggie Peck, from the county council's property department, outlined the council's policy in this new area, the first phase of the re-organisation to reach the stage of looking at disposal of sites.

Only two sites will be up for grabs anyway, as Chalkstone Middle will be redeveloped as a new care home to replace Place Court, Clements Primary, which is having a new school built on a different site, will becomke an open area managed by St Edmundsbury Council, and the Parkway Middle site is to be taken over by Castle Manor Business and Technology College.

That leaves Castle Hill Middle, which is closing, and Westfield Primary, which is moving to a new-build site in Chalkstone Way. There will also be about one-third of the Chalkstone site which is not required for the new care home.

The county council is still consulting with its various departments to see if these sites are needed, but if they are not they might become available for community use.

The playing fields, which cannot be built on, may well become available for community sports use, and the fate of the remaining two school sites will be th subject of a public consultation meeting the county council has organised on March 30 at Chalkstone Middle School from 3pm to 7pm.

At the same time St Edmundsbury Council is consulting on the open area to repolace Clements Primary, and Haverhill Town Council has called a public meeting about future use of redundant schools, which will be on Wednesday, March 24.

"The criteria for community uses are that they must produce the proceeds earmarked into the schools review, and are dependent on the financial income from the sites being maximised," said Maggie Peck.

She thopught most ideas woulkd be able to be accommodated within the remaining schools in Haverhill, and schools which were due to close had already found their hirers had found somewhere close to go when it happened.

"But there may be some ideas which come forward which could make use of sites, although they have to be financially viable in both capital and ongoing revenue terms, and they must serve a proven need."

But she said they did not rule out rental rather than purchase of a site, as long as it produced the required financial result.

Haverhill Online News

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Haverhill, UKPosted by HANDBAG at 4:57PM on 11th March, 2010. (212.169.xxx.xxx)

I can't imagine many community groups being in a financial position to allow the Council to receive full market value. If they were, they would have bought a site already I would have thought. I suppose I'm just a cynic, but I had a sneaking suspicion right from the beginning that the closure of Middle Schools wasn't so much about the furtherance of education, but rather about the selling of the sites.


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