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Former school set to be demolished to make way for new homes

PUBLISHED: 08:47 19 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:07 19 August 2020

The old Deben High School at Felixstowe before it closed Picture: JERRY TURNER

The old Deben High School at Felixstowe before it closed Picture: JERRY TURNER

Archant

One of Felixstowe’s best known buildings and which holds special memories for thousands of people as they were growing up is set to be demolished next spring.

The former Deben High School will be bulldozed to make way for housing and new sports facilities for the fast-growing seaside town.

It had initially been thought that the school, which dates back to the 1930s when it was Felixstowe Grammar, could be converted into apartments.

But this has found not to be possible and next April eight weeks of work will begin to demolish it – except for the Lower School Assembly Hall, which is of historic interest and can be incorporated into the new development as a link to its past.

A report submitted to East Suffolk Council said: “The existing courtyard buildings fronting Garrison Lane do not lend themselves to conversion as the three ‘wings’ are so interconnected and only one room deep.”

Apart from the the sports hall, assembly hall and Guides HQ, all buildings will be demolished.

The aim is to turn the 10-acre site into a new sports hub, providing a new home for the Felixstowe and Corinthians Cricket Club and also – in an upgrading of the sports hall – for Felixstowe Indoor Bowls Club, which could lose its current facilities when the town’s seafront leisure centre is redeveloped.

The school buildings land will be developed with affordable homes. No further details of the housing element of the project have yet been revealed but a planning application is expected soon.

Steve Gallant, leader of East Suffolk, has described the development as “a hugely exciting scheme for the council and for Felixstowe” and ”hugely important for the town and the local economy”.

After Deben High and the town’s other secondary school, Orwell High, merged to become Felixstowe Academy and moved to a new purpose-built campus in Walton HIgh Road, the Garrison Lane premises were closed. In 2014 they were leased by the county council to the Felixstowe International College. The college moved out last summer in anticipation that the old Deben site would be upgraded and refurbished.

However, funding problems in association with remedial work required following severe vandalism of the vacant site resulted in progress being halted and the plans finally withdrawn.

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