‘Fantastic’ plans for Halesworth Middle School site

Exciting plans for the future of a former middle school were unveiled last night as sport returned to the site's playing fields this week.

A presentation from planners Feria showed what the future might hold for the former Halesworth Middle School, off Harrisons Lane, with a huge range of sporting facilities for the town.

Cricket, rugby, football, tennis and swimming are among the sports that will be able to be homed at the school, which was closed last month, if the building is released by education secretary of state Michael Gove and enough money can be raised.

Tony Goldson, county councillor for Halesworth and chair of the Halesworth Campus group, said that the site provided a 'wonderful opportunity' for the town and that the plans were 'absolutely fantastic'.

He said: 'We had a meeting some months ago and gave them a vision of what we would look to have. We gave them a wish list of all sports clubs and all interested bodies, our absolute dream sporting complex, and what really shocks us is that they have come up with that.'

He added: 'The real thrill is that if we can raise the money there is a 25m, six lane swimming pool which would be phenomenal.'

The school was closed as part of a Suffolk-wide reorganisation of education and Suffolk County Council has offered it for free to the Halesworth Campus group, subject to approval from Mr Gove.

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The building is currently being used to store furniture from other closed middle schools, however it is expected to be available for use as an indoor sporting facility from October, ahead of development.

On Wednesday the outdoor sporting area was made available to the group allowing tennis, football and rugby to all be played.

Mr Goldson said that the project had the support of MPs and councils, but will need help to get the money required for the project.

'Everyone has put their weight behind it and Halesworth needs to realise and accept that this can come to reality if they support and back it,' he said.

He added that there was the potential for a hostel to be brought in for tourists, to help generate more income at the site, while it would also give the chance for the North Suffolk Skills Centre to expand.

It is hoped that Halesworth Health will also be able to develop medical facilities on the adjacent Dairy Hill Playing Field.

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