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Storm of protest over school extension

PUBLISHED: 19:21 24 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:14 03 March 2010

A STORM of protest has erupted over a school's proposal to build an extension - which one resident says will make his home feel like a prison yard.

Ipswich School today promised adjustments could still be made to its £3million plan to build a state-of-the-art biology lab, a new junior school hall and nine new classrooms.

A STORM of protest has erupted over a school's proposal to build an extension – which one resident says will make his home feel like a prison yard.

Ipswich School today promised adjustments could still be made to its £3million plan to build a state-of-the-art biology lab, a new junior school hall and nine new classrooms.

But the plan had come as a nasty shock to Henley Road residents, according to a new action committee which has been formed.

Solicitor Robert Gair, who lives next door to the site in question, said residents of eight houses objected to the two planning applications.

He said: "A letter from the school arrived a few days before Christmas to formally notify us about the plan. My wife was in tears when we first found out, and a neighbour was nearly in tears. There was nobody at the school then to contact.

"We are all appalled at what's being proposed. This will virtually be a new classroom block, about 40ft tall from our best guess, and it will be less than six feet from the boundary of my house.

"It will cut out the light, and it will make it like standing in a prison yard.

"It is right against the western boundary too…the school has large grounds and considerable scope to locate the buildings in a more suitable position."

He said: "The school has done this without consulting us. There was a meeting at the school last Wednesday for residents but the plans had already been submitted to the council so it was not a consultation meeting, just a chance for them to tell us what they were doing."

He added: "We have devised a strategy to oppose the development. We are determined to fight the plans in any way we can."

However, Ipswich School headteacher Ian Galbraith, pictured right, said it was not too late to adapt the proposal.

He said: "I am very concerned to hear the residents' worries.

"We did have a meeting and we did listen to what was said. The comments were reported back to the school governors and as a result we are briefing the architect.

"It is not too late to make adjustments at all. The architect will resubmit the plans with modifications. I can't be specific at the moment about what he can or can't do – we have given him some ideas and he is seeing if he can incorporate them, which I hope will make it more acceptable to residents.

"So their concern that the dye has been cast is not correct. The last thing we want is for people to feel we have not listened – and they will see the evidence that we have."

WEBLINK www.ipswich.suffolk.sch.uk

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