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Essex: Special needs school rebuild project set for final approval

PUBLISHED: 10:14 16 May 2014 | UPDATED: 10:14 16 May 2014

Market Field School headteacher Gary Smith is celebrating with pupils Bradley Coyle, Herry Mayhead, Harvey Skiffington, Vinnie Cook, Charlie Lattimer and Luke Tucker now that long awaited plans to demolish the school and rebuild it is set to be approved at Essex County Council cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Market Field School headteacher Gary Smith is celebrating with pupils Bradley Coyle, Herry Mayhead, Harvey Skiffington, Vinnie Cook, Charlie Lattimer and Luke Tucker now that long awaited plans to demolish the school and rebuild it is set to be approved at Essex County Council cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

County Hall is set to give the final go-ahead for a special needs school in north Essex to be re-built.

Market Field School, in Elmstead Market, has reached capacity and the building needs more than £300,000 spending on it for maintenance.

Long-awaited plans to demolish the entire building and re-build it, with extra space for new pupils, are due to get the final approval at an Essex County Council cabinet meeting on Tuesday,

Councillors are set to approve £1.616million in funding being brought forward a year for the project, which overall will cost £9.882million.

While the work takes place the school, which caters for children aged four to 16, will relocate to the Alderman Blaxill school in Paxman Avenue, in Shrub End, Colchester, which will be empty from July and upgraded to make it suitable for special needs pupils.

Gary Smith, head teacher at the Ofsted-rated outstanding school, said: “Relief that this is finally happening would be an understatement. It has been years in the making.

“I am over the moon.

“When I started at this school 25 years ago there were 69 pupils on the roll, and now there are 190, but the main building is the same.

“We have had to house kids in increasing numbers of temporary buildings. But children with special needs don’t deserve second-rate accommodation, they deserve luxury, the very best - and that is what they are going to get now.

“For me this scheme is a no-brainer and why it has taken so long is beyond belief to me.

“It will be a massive undertaking. In two months’ time we have got to pack everything up and move to the vacant school, set it up over the summer, and in another year do it all again.

“It is all very scary and exciting, really bittersweet - there are a lot of memories here.

“Although the building is changing the family feel will remain. We aim for that family feel, and everything I have said is a reflection of how the staff, pupils and their families are feeling too.

“I would like to thank everyone who had shown interest and support in the project as they have enabled it. The public have been behind us all the way.”

Witham MP Priti Patel faced questions over the prospect of a possible Cabinet return this morning in her first televised interview since quitting over her secret meetings with senior Israeli figures last year.

This is the last week that market traders will operate from Ipswich’s Cornhill for at least a year as work to rebuild the town centre is due to start.

Drivers are being warned they could face delays as roadworks begin at one of Ipswich’s busiest junctions this morning.

The government has still not agreed a deal to end its £50m commitment for the regional fire control “white elephant” in Cambridgeshire – nearly two years after negotiations started.

A police helicopter was involved in a search which continues this morning for a motorist involved in a single-vehicle crash in Suffolk last night.

James Blunt and Plan B have joined this year’s Newmarket Nights line-up.

Police are at the scene of a crash on the A1071 near Hintlesham this evening. Updates here.

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