As previously, reported, investigation into possible future use of the school buildings, for community facilities or council services, found the original options under consideration would be unviable. Hampshire County Council, which owns the site and buildings, has contracted demolition experts, Hampshire Environmental Services, to clear the school buildings, ready for the site to be given a new lease of life for the benefit of the local community.
Councillor Keith Mans, Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services at Hampshire County Council, explained: “We remain committed to working in partnership with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, the Winklebury Regeneration Partnership Group, the wider community and other stakeholders to identify an option for the site’s use that will have the most positive impact on the area’s regeneration and its community.
“I can confirm that alternate options for the future use of the site are still being explored and considered, so residents should be assured that no decisions about plans for the future have been made.
“However, at a time when the County Council is facing substantial monetary pressures, the costs associated with securing the buildings are significant. It is therefore sensible for us to remove the buildings that cannot be re-used, to clear the way for new facilities, thereby avoid incurring further costs unnecessarily at the expense of the taxpayer.
“With regard to Castle Hill pre-school, we have made arrangements with the contractor to ensure the pre-school can stay open for the duration of the works, and that it can operate safely, with minimal disruption. We are committed to ensuring the future of the pre-school on site and will work closely with them over the coming months to agree how improved accommodation for them can fit in to the site’s development as we move forward."
Following completion of all ecological, archaeological and health and safety investigations, the County Council has confirmed that demolition specialists will be on site from 2 January 2019 until 31 May 2019, with all works being carried out between the hours of 08:00 and 17:00, Monday to Friday only. The contractor will adhere to Health and Safety Executive guidance and good practice - no burning on site will be permitted and all due care will be taken to minimise noise, dust and vibration. At the end of each working day, the area will be secured to prevent unauthorised access.
The works should not affect nearby residents, but if residents have any concerns or require further information, they are advised to call the County Council on 0300 555 1384.
Regarding the future use of the site, proposals will be developed over the coming months and residents will have the chance to contribute their views on those proposals, as they emerge.