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Former city school may get a new lease of life.

Byline: LAURA HARTLEY News Reporter laura.hartley@reachplc.com

NEW plans have emerged for an old Coventry school which has been closed since a controversial merger.

Woodlands School closed in July 2016 when the all-boys school merged with nearby Tile Hill Wood girls' school.

Officials said low pupil numbers were one of the main driving factors behind the decision.

The site was taken over by the Department for Education on a decades-long lease when the school became an academy in 2011.

There are several areas of the site which are Grade II listed giving them added protection from redevelopment. But it has now been revealed it is set to remain an educational and community site if proposals are approved.

Councillors are set to consider proposals to consult the community on progressing a feasibility study which might see the former school site become an education and sports village.

The proposal would allow the council to discuss with parents, carers and the local community of a potential relocation of Woodfield Special school - as well as public access to the sports facilities.

Woodfield Special School is currently on two sites - one on Hawthorn Road and the other Stoneleigh Road.

The relocation would address the problem of increasing demand for special school places, while improving their facilities.

Not only do the proposals retain the site as an educational purpose, but the sports facilities would also stay with access for the community as well.

Despite the education village plans, housing could be on the cards for some of the site if the costs aren't covered by the Woodfield sites and sport facilities.

In December 2016, Cllr Kevin Maton said some housing might help fund whatever happens at the site, but it would be a 'really small scale development.'.

The latest report contemplates the possibility requesting a small amount of residential development on the Woodlands site This is only as a last resort should other funding options not be available to be considered.

Around six months after the closure of the school, the empty Woodlands site 'came under consideration' as the new home of Coventry City's Academy.

Also in December 2016, Cllr Maton, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, thought it would be an ideal use for the Broad Lane site.

There was also the suggestion that the site could be used for houses - a pla Cllr Maton said was no appropriate.

Cllr Kevin Maton, said it is a fantastic opportunity for the site to be developed.

He said: "We always stated publicly that we wanted to retain the Woodlands site for educational and sports use for the community and this proposal gives us an exciting opportunity to do just that.

"We face a challenge in Coventry to meet the demand for more school places for children with special educational needs, particularly social, emotional and mental health (SEMH).

"We know the two Woodfield sites can't meet the additional demand, and there are considerable concerns about the quality of their buildings, but by sharing a site we can give the children and young people access to an improved curriculum and the better resources for learning that they deserve.

"I must stress however that we are just at the start of a process, the most important part of which will be a detailed consultation with Woodfield parents and the Woodlands community.

"We have a fantastic opportunity to bring vacant education buildings back into specialist use for young people and the wider community, and we must ensure we work to do it right."

The proposals will be discussed in a cabinet meeting on October 30.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Oct 24, 2018
Words:596
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