Referral unit set for estate move

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PLANS to move a pupil referral unit from Brandon next to a primary school in Moreton Hall have been met with mixed feelings.

First Base is a behaviour support service for children in West Suffolk aged between three and eight-years-old.

It is currently based in a Victorian building in School Lane, Brandon, but Suffolk County Council has proposed to move it to a purpose-built facility next to Abbots Green Community Primary School, in Airfield Road.

Some parents fear that building the unit next to Abbots Green would ‘lower the reputation of the school’ while some nearby residents are concerned that it could devalue their homes.

But Dawn Cooper, from Felsham, supports the proposal as her son Lewis currently attends Panther Class at Abbot Green, a specialist support centre for children with educational needs.

“I think we definitely need something like that in this area. Some children haven’t got special educational needs but they do have other problems, so I think it’ll be a good thing.”

First Base head of centre Judi Bush said the move would provide families with ‘equality of access’ and offer free classes that would benefit the community, including parenting classes.

“We want to be part of the community provision rather than just specialist provision,” she said.

If the plans are approved, planning permission will be sought next month, with the intention to complete the build by June next year.