East Suffolk Council has exchanged contracts for the transfer of a former school site in Felixstowe from Suffolk County Council and will use it to deliver sport, leisure and housing opportunities for the town.
The former Deben High School site will facilitate the ongoing development of Felixstowe Sports Hubs and a new home for Felixstowe Indoor Bowls Club. Meanwhile, proposals for the redevelopment of the main school buildings also include a range of housing, in particular affordable units for the town.
Deben High School closed and left the site in 2012, after merging with Orwell High School and the property was vacant for a year before Suffolk County Council leased the site to Felixstowe International College, who vacated the premises in June 2019.
Cllr Steve Gallant, Leader of East Suffolk Council, said: “This is a hugely exciting scheme for the Council and for Felixstowe. We are committed to increasing leisure opportunities in the town and also to improving the housing mix and this will help us to fulfil our ambitions on two important fronts. I would like to thank Suffolk County Council for the support they have shown for our objectives.
“Despite the difficulties we have all faced because of the Coronavirus, we want our communities to know how committed we are to moving big projects such as this forward. This is hugely important for the town and the local economy and we look forward to sharing more details of our plans in the weeks and months to come.”
Cllr Robert Whiting, Deputy Cabinet Member for Property at Suffolk County Council, said: “Suffolk County Council is committed to managing our land assets in ways which benefit Suffolk’s communities and taxpayers. After careful consideration of the project presented by East Suffolk Council, we immediately saw the potential of their plans to benefit the local community and happily agreed transfer of this land and buildings to them at a nominal price. Suffolk County Council looks forward to seeing East Suffolk deliver this ambitious project for Felixstowe.”
The 4.09 hectares site consists of a range of buildings of various ages, and substantial playing fields. The playing fields are protected from development under the Schools Framework Act 1977 and we are working with Felixstowe and Corinthians Cricket Club to explore the opportunity to make this their long-term home. By utilising and upgrading the old sports hall facility at the Deben school site, the plan is for the Indoor Bowls Club and Cricket Club to share some of the facilities in a purpose-built centre.
The housing element of the proposed development is currently being considered. Initial layouts, mix and tenure are being developed with assistance from the projects design team. An application for outline planning permission is expected to be submitted later this year. The proposed housing will have a strong sustainable focus; the low carbon approach to the housing need of the town will be catered specifically to Felixstowe and its residents.
Luke Smout Felixstowe