Petition to allow tours of historic school building before it is demolished
PUBLISHED: 17:02 28 February 2020 | UPDATED: 17:02 28 February 2020
A petition has urged former students and staff to be allowed to tour an old school before it gets knocked down to make way for 50 new homes.
Bacton Middle School has been empty for nearly five years after Suffolk County Council decided to move from a three-tier to a two-tier education system, leaving the site surplus to requirement.
Plans to demolish the building to make way for a new housing estate were backed by Mid Suffolk District Council's planning committee in 2017.
Progress has since stagnated while Suffolk County Council, which owns the land, agrees Section 106 payments for roads and infrastructure upgrades with the district council.
The petition asks to the county council to allow guided tours around the old building before it is eventually demolished. However, a spokesman for the body said that health and safety concerns may scupper their plans.
A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: "We are already liaising with organisers to help facilitate a reunion event.
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"Sadly, as the school buildings have been empty for many years, we are unable to permit access inside the buildings or allow a tour. This is due to health and safety concerns.
"We will continue to discuss alternative options with event organisers to help them create a safe and memorable event."
On the petition, which has received 242 signatures, campaigners described the school as "legendary".
It read: "Many people over the decades have spent many years of their working and learning life in this school and it would be such a shame to see it go without letting people have one last look around to share some incredible memories.
"If we can get enough people to share and sign this petition then maybe the council in charge of the redevelopment of the site will give access to the public or at least consider the idea of tours or viewings of the legendary school."
The former middle school in Wyverstone Road is due to be turned into a new 50-home estate.
A fifth of the development will be made up of affordable homes, while there will also be 3G football pitches.
Planning officers recognised the proposals were outside the settlement boundary for Bacton, which went against the local plan - but still approved the application.
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