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New homes approved for former Leiston Middle School

PUBLISHED: 16:00 03 August 2019 | UPDATED: 08:50 04 August 2019

The former grammar school in Leiston Picture: JOHN RAYNER

The former grammar school in Leiston Picture: JOHN RAYNER

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Plans have been approved for 11 new homes to be built inside a former Suffolk school.

The former Leiston Middle School has been split up in recent years for use in a number of different projects.

This latest permission concerns the school's front building, which was historically the town's grammar school before serving as the middle school until it closed in 2012 following a change to Suffolk's schooling system.

Most recently it was used as part of Leiston High School but was later sold off after being surplus to requirements.

Western Homes Development applied to have 11, two-bedroom units created within the existing footprint of the school which have now been given the go-ahead by East Suffolk Council.

In a design and access statement provided for the project by consultants Collins & Coward, the developers said that maintaining the school's historic exterior would be important.

"The application seeks to preserve the non-designated heritage asset of the former school building in a manner suitable to its significance," said the statement.

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"The conversion of the building will retain the building as originally conceived and developed but for residential use."

Elsewhere on the site plans are moving forward with the school's remaining buildings.

A new build area which contained the school's gymnasium and four classrooms is currently leased by Leiston Town Council, along with the school's old playing field and multi-use games area.

Together these areas form a community centre known as the Waterloo Centre which is currently used by a number of local clubs.

A spokesman for Leiston Town Council said: "It is the town council's aspiration to develop this centre, which has very good proximity to the Victory Road Recreation Ground, into a well used hub."

The town council said that the two-storey old science block was currently being considered for conversion to offices for Suffolk County Council to use.

The site is also currently home to Leiston's Children's Centre, which is set to become a 'family hub' under county council proposals.

A spokesman for Leiston Town Council said: "We await the results of this to see how we can work with them too."

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