School's £12m plan for funding stumbles

A SCHOOL'S plans to fund improvements by selling land to developers have again been dashed.

Basildon Council's development control committee voted out proposals from Billericay School to build 51 homes on a former school farm in its grounds.

The sale of the four acres of green belt would have raised £12million to fund three new science labs, two music, media and drama rooms and a new sports centre to replace 14 demountable classrooms currently in use.

Headteacher Sue Hammond urged councillors to go against officers' advice and agree the plans.

She said: "I represent our 1,700 pupils who will get greatly improved education if this goes ahead. We are not in line for any Government funding for at least the next ten years."

Labour councillor for Vange, Danny Nandanwar said the school made a strong argument and the council would have to face up to releasing green belt for housing at some stage.

But the pleas fell on deaf ears as the four Tories out of the six councillors on the committee argued green belt would not be released.

Councillor Ann Blake (Pitsea South East) said: "As a school governor, I sympathise as I know how underfunded schools are, but it is not up to the planning authority to sacrifice green belt which will be lost forever."

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