After standing empty for some time Suffolk County Council have transferred the old Deben School Site to East Suffolk Council – and they have big plans to redevelop the site for both sport and housing.
Deben High School closed and left the site in 2012, after merging with Orwell High School and the property was vacant for a year before Suffolk County Council leased the site to Felixstowe International College. Unfortunately their pupil numbers never achieved the increases they were hoping for so they vacated the premises in June 2019 and since then it’s stood empty and has been subject to vandalism on a number of occasions.
It was inevitable that this large piece of land would be eyed up for housing – but it will also come in handy for ESC to fill the gaps that will be left when they redevelop the Eastward Ho outdoor pitches with the new Leisure Centre complex and close both Brackenbury Sports Centre and the Seafront facilities.
The 4.09 hectares site consists of a range of buildings of various ages, and substantial playing fields. The playing fields are protected from development under the Schools Framework Act 1977 and so ESC are working with Felixstowe and Corinthians Cricket Club to explore the opportunity to make this their long-term home. By utilising and upgrading the old sports hall facility as well, the plan is for the Indoor Bowls Club and Cricket Club to share some of the facilities in a purpose-built centre.
Meanwhile, proposals for the redevelopment of the main school buildings also include a range of housing, in particular affordable units for the town.
Initial layouts, mix and tenure are being developed with assistance from the projects design team. An application for outline planning permission is expected to be submitted later this year. According to the council the proposed housing will have a strong sustainable focus; the low carbon approach to the housing need of the town will be catered specifically to Felixstowe and its residents.