Temporary classrooms plan for Southchrch High School

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Councillors could give the green light to plans for three new temporary classrooms at a school in Southchurch.

Southend Council will hold its first remote Development Control Committee meeting on Monday evening and among the plans set to be considered is a proposal for three temporary classrooms at Southchurch High School on Southchurch Boulevard.

Ahead of the meeting the council’s planning officers have advised councillors to give the plans the green light.

If it goes ahead, two of the rooms will be changing rooms and the third will be an office used for Physical Education lessons.

Planning documents explain that the school is “oversubscribed” and needs the rooms because it is “struggling for space”.

The temporary classrooms will “solve the issue in the interim until a permanent solution is found”.

The rooms will be built on the school’s car park but this is not expected to have any impact on visitors as there “is ample parking at this site and the car park only reaches 70 per cent capacity even at peak times”.

In total only 11 parking spaces will be lost, reducing the number from 95 to 84.

While the council asked 34 neighbouring properties to give their views, only one raised an objection, claiming the extra rooms are “unnecessary” and an “irresponsible waste”.

The objection also highlighted that the school had moved from an older building in 2010 which it could be used rather than temporary classrooms.

Councillor Dan Nelson (Con), who represents the Southchurch ward, said using the old site in Thorpe Bay would not be possible as it is derelict and “full of asbestos”.

He admitted the current building was built to be a college building rather than a school and as a result it is the smallest secondary school in the borough. But following recent extensions that have created a new sports hall and music facility, the councillor said he has “never had a concern” about the school moving sites.

A final decision on the plans will be made on Monday evening with members of the public able to tune in through the council’s website.

It will be the first Development Control Committee meeting the council has held since lockdown restrictions caused all public meetings to be suspended.

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Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter