A SENIOR councillor has assured residents that a school is not about to close.
Councillor Cath Hill, Hartlepool Borough Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, confirmed there are no plans to close the town’s Manor College of Technology in response to concerns raised by fellow councillor Geoff Lilley.
Independent Councillor Lilley, who represents the Greatham ward, had asked for reassurance about the long-term future of the school, in Owton Manor Lane.
He raised fears that there would not be enough secondary school places in the south of the town, especially if a proposed housing development at Claxton Bank, near the Fens estate, gets the go-ahead as part of the council’s core strategy programme.
He spoke after suggestions that the now-closed Brierton School could be handed an unexpected lifeline to replace Manor as it had a higher capacity for students.
The strategy sets out the town’s development targets and policies over the next 15 years and Coun Lilley said a number of residents had raised similar fears in response to the strategy’s consultation process.
Coun Lilley emailed his concerns to Coun Hill, in which he wrote: “I would presume that discussions have/are taking place to address the problems which would be created by extra homes being built on the Claxton site.
“Can you please confirm that Manor school features in these plans and has a long-term future and that there are no plans to close Manor.”
Coun Hill said: “There is no plan to close Manor College of Technology.
“Based on current pupil projections we are confident that there are sufficient secondary school places across the town to accommodate the proposed housing sites in the core strategy, including the Claxton Bank proposed development.
“The council constantly monitors pupil projections and will continue to liaise closely with all schools in the town to ensure that we are in the best possible position to meet the needs of families and children in Hartlepool.”
Coun Lilley also asked Coun Hill about the future of Brierton Community School once pupils from Dyke House Sports and Technology College, who are currently being taught there, move back into their Mapleton Road base when its Building Schools for the Future (BSF) transformation is complete.
Coun Hill replied: “The council is still exploring options for the long-term future of the Brierton site.”
Up to 2,400 homes could be built at Claxton, and Coun Lilley says it could mean an influx of 500 to 600 children needing school places in the south of the town.
He called for “joined-up thinking” for the council to look at future school provision quickly.
No decision has yet been made regarding the Claxton development and council officers are assessing the wide range of comments received during the recent phase of public consultation of the core strategy as a whole.
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