Talks on school site under way

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CONSULTATIONS are to begin next week on the future of a prominent site which was the home of a Sheffield secondary school.

Abbeydale Grange in Millhouses finally closed its doors to pupils in July, ending a long and controversial battle over its future.

Most pupils left in summer 2010 but the final year students stayed on so they could study for their GCSEs without interruption.

Some opponents of the plans insisted the city council were in favour of closure because of the potential value of the site for housing development.

But councillors are insisting that residents in the area will be allowed to have their say before any decision is made.

And a ‘friends’ group determined to protect the future of the school’s playing fields and nearby Spring Wood is in the process of being set up.

The Carterknowle and Millhouses Community Group has already signalled it is determined to protect the fields which stretch back to the Bannerdale Centre.

A series of meetings to discuss the way forward are planned with residents on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

Local community group representatives will help shape wider consultations, but the final decision for the future of the site will rest with the council.

The council’s deputy leader Coun Bryan Lodge said: “We have always maintained that residents should be able to have a say on what happens next.

“This is why we have set up a series of meetings with local residents to find out the views of local people and what they want to see happen to the site.

“The school building itself will have to be demolished, but what happens next to the site is up for discussion. No decision on its future will be made until this consultation process has happened. We will be consulting with the local community and will be drawing up proposals for the future use of the whole site.

@The demolition is the first stage of preparing the site for the future.”

A planning application to carry out demolition work has already been submitted and the process is likely to begin fully in the new year.

But parts of the internal structure will start to be demolished from this week.

Next week’s drop-in sessions are to be held at the following locations:

n Monday, December 5, 3-7pm at St Oswald’s Church, Bannerdale Road; Tuesday, December 6, 3-6 pm at Holy Trinity Church, Grove Road; and Wednesday, December 7, 2-4pm at Carterknowle Junior School.

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