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£7million bill to shut the Deanes School
4:00pm Monday 4th November 2013 in News
CLOSING the Deanes School could cost County Hall almost £7million – less than £4million below what it would cost to rebuild it.
Essex County Council officers have recommended that councillors close the school in Daws Heath Road, Thundersley, claiming it is “unsustainable” due to falling admissions.
This is despite opposition from almost 6,750 individuals, as well as from Castle Point, Basildon and Southend councils.
The officers’ report, which will be considered by the county council’s cabinet on Thursday, says the costs of shutting the school could mount up to £6.65million.
Providing a new 600-place school building would cost about £10.5million – just £3.85million more.
The closure costs include a £1.5million support package to help the governing body retain staff in the run-up to the shutdown.
Around £596,000 would be set aside for redundancies.
The report also says demolishing the school could cost up to £600,000, or £300,000 if carried out as part of the relocation and rebuild of Glenwood special needs school.
A total of £4million would also be given to the King John School and the Appleton School to help them expand to take in the Deanes pupils.
Parent Linda Allport-Hodge, of Edgecotts, Basildon, whose son Declan attends the school, said: “It is an absolute disgrace.
To onlymake a saving of £4million when it will cause so much upheaval is very shortsighted.
In the end, it will not be a saving if further down the line they have to build a new school because of all the new families that will move into all these new housing developments that are planned.
“It will cost a lot more to taxpayers to build a new school once they realise they have made a mistake.”
Sarah Raven, a fellow parent and a member of the Deanes Action Group, said: “It’s absolutely crazy what they are doing.
“They are playing with our children’s education.
“I don’t know how they can justify closing the school when in a few years we will have to build a new one at a much bigger expense to the taxpayer than the £3million or £4million they are saving. It just doesn’t make any sense.”
An Essex County Council spokeswoman said: “The decision to close the Deanes School has never been about saving money. It has been about viability.
“We believe the Deanes School is not viable as a result of declining pupil numbers.”
If the Deanes shuts, the county council will take control of its campus so it can relocate the Glenwood School from Rushbottom Lane, Benfleet, to the site.
The council hopes to find an organisation that would be willing to take over the running costs of the sports centre.
The cabinet meeting will take place at County Hall in Market Road, Chelmsford, from 10am on Thursday.
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