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Newmarket's old police station to become flats despite school expansion concerns

Newmarket's old police station, Vicarage Road
Newmarket's old police station, Vicarage Road

A decision to approve plans to convert a former police station into flats will mean a Newmarket school cannot expand its specialist education provision, a governor has said.

Forest Heath District Council’s planning committee have approved plans to turn the Vicarage Lane police station into seven apartments.

But the building, of which Suffolk County Council own 20 per cent and Suffolk Police 80 per cent, was seen as the only place neighbouring All Saints’ Primary School could expand to meet growing demands for specialist education provision.

At the meeting Rachel Wood, the school’s vice-chairman of governors, urged the committee to defer their decision to re-evaluate recent county council decisions.

Committee member Cllr Simon Cole asked: “If Suffolk County Council are so desperate for buildings near schools and they already own 20 per cent, why are they not buying the rest of this one?”

But planning officer Kerri Cooper said the county council ‘were not a position’ to buy the rest. Planners discussed parking issues and concerns about the site overlooking a school, before unanimously passing the plans.

After the meeting Mrs Wood said: “There is absolutely no doubt that Suffolk County Council is going to need sites adjacent to existing schools for specialist care centres. If that building is made into flats then All Saints’ won’t be able to able to operate a specialist support centre because there’s not enough room and that’s very disappointing.”