Moving �2.5million new school out of town would ‘send out wrong message’ Cabinet tells councillor

THIRTY five pupils excluded for a variety of reasons from Fenland schools are to be housed in a new �2.5million learning centre in Wisbech.

The county council is pressing on with the centre in Coalwharf Road despite opposition led by county councillor Simon King who wanted it built further out of town.

He favoured a site near the Hudson Leisure Centre off Harecroft Road and pleaded with the council’s Cabinet to consider it.

Cllr King claimed there was “strong opposition” to the town centre site and said at least 300 people had signed a petition opposed to it there.

However a Cabinet report noted the “considerable practical difficulties” of acquiring a site near the Hudson.

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“Further it was agreed that such a proposal, which would have the effect of removing some of the most vulnerable children to the edge of town, was not one that could be supported,” says a Cabinet report.

“It would send out the wrong message suggesting that the children were not valued. It was recognised that any site was likely to attract opposition and it was considered that many of the potential issues could be designed out.”

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Cabinet says the proposals “add significant investment to one of the most deprived areas of the county”.

Detailed plans have been published for this the sixth, and final, of the Building Schools for the Future roll out in Fenland.

The centre, moving from March, will cater for 13 to 16-year-olds and has a reputation for encouraging further education- up to 85 per cent of students leave to attend college.

The county council believes the new centre will boost the area given that the site “has been used by vagrants and other unauthorised groups, some of whom have been known to camp there for several weeks.”

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