Mid Suffolk buys Needham school site for housing

Needham Market Middle School ENGANL00120130221101238
Needham Market Middle School ENGANL00120130221101238

The redundant Needham Market Middle School site has been bought for redevelopment by Mid Suffolk District Council.

The council has bought the 1.26 hectare School Street site from Suffolk County Council and is now looking at plans to redevelop it, though the county has kept the playing fields for community use. The price is deemed too ‘commercially sensite’ to disclose.

The middle school closed in July 2015, following the outcome of the Schools Organisation Review which standardised schooling across Suffolk from three- to two-tier.

The purchase also includes community buildings which are home to a library run by Suffolk Libraries and an internet café run by the local community. Mid Suffolk says it will work closely with these groups on continuing to provide ‘much valued local facilities’.

Proposals for a housing scheme are being drawn up and will be subject to a public consultation through the planning processes.

Cllr Nick Gowrley, Mid Suffolk District Council leader and portfolio holder for assets and investment, said, “Earlier this year we unveiled our Joint Strategic Plan in which we outlined our vision for investing in our communities by bringing redundant sites back into use and the acquisition of the middle school and land is an important first step as we start to see that vision taking shape.

“Work on redeveloping this area will now gather momentum over the coming months as we press ahead with plans for the provision of new homes and community facilities.”

Cllr Richard Smith, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for finance and property, said: “Part of our aspirations for the site were to provide a new library and facilities for the community as well as provision of new homes.

“Mid Suffolk were able to provide a whole site solution delivering these aims.

“I look forward to hearing about the development of Mid Suffolk District Council’s plans for this fantastic site.”