Concern for 'heart' of Woodbridge

MORE than 300 people concerned about the future of Woodbridge have been warned that the town's heart would be ripped out if a primary school moved out of the centre.

MORE than 300 people concerned about the future of Woodbridge have been warned that the town's heart would be ripped out if a primary school moved out of the centre.

Suffolk County Council wants to move the primary school from New Street to a site in Pytches Road, Melton. The school is now so outdated that it would cost £1.1million to modernise the buildings.

The New Street site would then be turned into a development of 23 flats and houses up to three-storeys tall with the main school building being turned into a large public library.

But Neil Montgomery, mayor and school governor, speaking in a personal capacity, said: "We feel that the present site is crucial to the future of Woodbridge. If the county council gives away this almost priceless site in the heart of Woodbridge to the developers they can build an estate of new houses and from the profit they will offer a 'free' school.


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"We are concerned that we will lose this site which brings a great deal of vitality, animation and human interest to the centre of the town. My view is that we do not want to kill the town centre of Woodbridge.

"Woodbridge is a unique and special place. Woodbridge is a small compact intimate sort of town and we would like it to remain that way.''

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Woodbridge Community Hall was overflowing for the public meeting chaired by Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer about the complex plans.

Mr Gummer told the county council it needed to provide a cost/benefit analysis and to ensure that the new school did not top 210 places, the proposed maximum amount of pupils.

Jeremy Harrold, secretary of Melton Grange Residents' Association, called for the Government to make a decision on the plans.

"They should not be decided by Suffolk County Council who are in effect judge, jury and executioner. They own the land, they build the school, they determine if the road is suitable or not, they make their own recommendations to their own committee who then give planning permission. To the outsider, it doesn't seem a very level playing field," said Mr Harrold.

The county will make a decision on May 4 about the new school. The district council has responsibility of judging the plans for the old school site.

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