Ideas needed to stop demolition of school

UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Uplands Middle School in Sudbury closed in the summer.
UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Uplands Middle School in Sudbury closed in the summer.
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More needs to be done to find a viable community use for a redundant Sudbury school, before it falls into the hands of housing developers.

Suffolk County Council, which owns Uplands Middle School, has been given approval by the Secretary of State to dispose of the school building and its grounds.

Three town charities pulled out of a bid to take over the building earlier this month, after the council refused to extend its deadline for the Suffolk Befriending Scheme to work up a detailed business plan.

Jack Owen, Sudbury town councillor, said every avenue possible should be explored to keep the building for community use.

“I really hope we can keep it,” he said. “The town council has been standing in the sidelines and has tried to broker a deal, but not enough organisations have come forward.

“Due to the costs involved, people are finding it difficult to commit and I think the county council should have given more time to the interested charities.”

Mr Owen said he was concerned that if the building was left vacant, it could become a target for vandals.

He added that he still believed there was an opportunity for someone to make a case to use the building.

“It could be used as a training centre, somewhere apprentices can go to learn a trade, with various businesses buying into it,” said Mr Owen. “It needs someone with some vision.”

The school closed in the summer, following the council’s shift from three to two-tier education.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said no definitive plans had been set aside for the building.

“Following consultations with the local community, it is evident that there are no viable community uses for the site,” she said.

“At this stage, it is likely that the playing fields will be made available to the adjoining schools, but the future of the building is still being considered.”