Proposals for school sites

SHAUN LOWTHORPE Redundant school sites in Norwich should make way for housing or reused as a base for other county council services including adult education.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

Redundant school sites in Norwich should make way for housing or be reused as a base for other county council services including adult education.

That was one of the findings of a consultation looking at the future of six schools which closed last term as part of a £100m school reorganisation following the abolition of middle schools.

Norfolk County Council canvassed the views of residents living near South Harford Middle, Lakenham First, Woodside First, Dowson First, Mile Cross Middle and Wellesley First.

Meanwhile the prospect of moving Norwich's pupil referral unit to the South Harford site, first put forward by opposition Labour councillors, also moved a step closer, with a proposal to develop a full project plan for the site. It follows a hard-hitting Ofsted report, which was critical of the state of the current facilities - and earlier calls for an immediate switch to South Harford.

There have also been informal expressions of interest from the adult education service and the Youth Offending Team.

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But it is not clear whether that could see a money-spinning switch for adult education from the current Wensum Lodge headquarters to one of the former schools, possibly Lakenham, which is close to County Hall.

Residents were also keen to see the Dowson and Mile Cross sites developed for either sheltered housing or schemes to encourage older residents on the estate to downsize to smaller properties.

And there has been interest from the voluntary sector to develop the Wellesley First site.

The findings of the consultation, and the next steps in the process, will be considered at next Wednesday's children's services review panel meeting. Preferred options for the sites are expected to be discussed by Review Panel in November.

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