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Plan approved for new school

PUBLISHED: 17:10 20 November 2008 | UPDATED: 07:47 01 August 2010

PUPILS at Seething Primary School will say goodbye to their 150-year-old thatched building to move into new facilities,

after plans were approved this week.

PUPILS at Seething Primary School will say goodbye to their 150-year-old thatched building to move into new facilities,

after plans were approved this week.

Pupils and teachers at the picturesque thatched school have been told they will get their purpose-built facility, seven years after plans for the project were first laid.

Their new home, which will be built on the school playing field, will include three classrooms, a servery, staff and administration rooms, and a hall, which the children currently do not have.

Adrian Gunson, county councillor for Loddon division, said the extra space would be as welcome as the new facilities.

“I'm absolutely delighted,” he said. “We've been pushing for a new school for over 20 years. The teachers and pupils deserve a better school.”

Although some villagers were keen to see the quaint thatched building remain part of the school, it will be sold and converted into a house.

Pat Everson, who worked as a midday supervisor at the school for 14 years and attended the school, as did her parents, said: “I just feel sad that it has come to this.

“I think that the builder who will convert it will do it sympathetically so it won't lose its character, but there's so much history, and so many families have generations who have gone through the school. I had hoped it could be used for something.”

Mr Gunson, who estimated that the 80-pupil school would cost in the region of £1.5m, said: “The new building will give the teachers an opportunity to use modern teaching methods, which they are not able to do at the moment because of limitations of space.

“The thatched building couldn't be used as part of the new school because it just wouldn't relate to the new school - it would be quite absurd.”

Norfolk County Council, which will fund the project, gave the go-ahead for the plans.

Mr Gunson said that 12 sites in Seething were looked at before the council settled on using and extending the current school campus.

Building work will not be started before spring 2009, because great crested newts, which are covered by a protected species status, must be captured from the site and released into a safe area before building work begins. This can only be done in October or March, either side of their hibernation period. The school could open in spring 2010.

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