Former school to be demolished in weeks

Latest community news from the Suffolk Free Press,, @sfpsudbury on Twitter
Latest community news from the Suffolk Free Press,, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

Bulldozers will move in to demolish a redundant Sudbury school after attempts to find a community use for the building failed.

Workers are expected to start knocking down Uplands Middle School in York Road next month, the site’s owners Suffolk County Council confirmed this week.

The news is a blow to those who were keen to see charities or community organisations take over the building.

Residents living nearby received notices informing them of the impending work on Monday.

“It is quite worrying as I can see the school from where I live and April is only a few weeks away,” said Ben Grant, from Constable Road in Sudbury.

“I have been worried that this could happen for some time.”

The county council was given the approval of the Secretary of State to dispose of the building, which closed as a school in July, last year.

A number of groups came forward to register an interest in the site but the majority were put off by the associated costs, which were estimated at around £100,000 a year.

Mr Grant said he would have preferred for the site to remain intact.

“I would have liked to have seen it used by the community,” he said. “I do not want to see it flattened.”

The closest the disused school came to being saved was when three Sudbury charities – The Befriending Scheme, the Stour Valley Vineyard Church and The Bridge Project – linked up to discuss using the site.

They groups were asked to consider taking on a short-term lease, which would run until August, and produce a viable business plan.

When a deadline extension for the proposals was requested, however, the council refused and the project came to nothing.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said the demolition was due to commence in mid-April.

“The decision has been taken to demolish the main school building and the work has now been commissioned,” she said. “The demolition notice has been issued as required.”

The entire Uplands site covers 16 acres and, although it is feared a section of the land will be sold off for housing, the playing fields will be retained.

“We will be looking to sell the site for redevelopment in due course,” added the spokeswoman. “The playing fields on the site will remain in use and will be used by Tudor Primary School and Ormiston Sudbury Academy.”

Mark Cross, principal building control officer at Babergh District Council, said Cocksedge Building Contractors would be carrying out the demolition but nothing was known of what will replace the buildings.

“There is no planning application in at this time, so the future of the site is unknown,” said Mr Cross.