Dunmow’s secondary school could be on the move under new housing blueprints

Helena Romanes set to move?

Helena Romanes set to move? - Credit: Archant

Plans have been unveiled which could see Great Dunmow’s Helena Romanes School moved and rebuilt as the town faces having to build even more new homes – but a £500,000 refurbishment at the current location will continue.

Uttlesford District Council (UDC) has announced they need to accommodate another 2,700 homes as part of their revised Local Plan.

According to the new proposals, 400 of these will be built on land west of Great Dunmow and south of Stortford Road.

One hundred have also been earmarked for the current Helena Romanes School site, on Parsonage Downs, with the school to be rebuilt next to Buttleys Lane, north of Flitch Way.

Headteacher Simon Knight told the Broadcast the school had been looking at ways to expand since July, and had informed parents of its plans to extend its capacity.

But he insisted it was early days.

“It is my job to make sure Helena Romanes is the school of choice for the community. I am very proud to be the headteacher and I have to look at the strategic development of the school,” he said.

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“We are currently exploring options but there are still a lot of discussions which need to take place. I just want what is best for Great Dunmow.”

The school is currently able to take up to 1,563 pupils. Over the next 20 years it will need to provide another 400 places.

To facilitate this the school has been looking at a number of options including extending the current facility and rebuilding on the current site.

But Mr Knight said he favoured the idea of rebuilding the school at a new location.

Despite the possibility of a whole school move, plans are still in place to push ahead with the half a million pound refurbishment project of the existing site.

By the end of January 2014 the secondary school, which accommodates pupils from 11 to 18-years-old, will have undergone a half a million refurbishment project.

New windows and flashings are being fitted to B block, which houses the English department and is the part of the school which welcomes all students and visitors.

Mr Knight said they have a refurbishment programme in place and it “will continue” despite plans for the school to be rebuilt.

“It is my job to provide the best care for the children currently under my supervision,” he explained.

“These plans could not take place for 10 to 15 years. We have a planned programme of refurbishment and it will continue.”

The work should be complete by the end of January 2014.

What do you think of the plans? Should Helena Romanes School be rebuilt in a different location? E-mail emma.hardwick@archant.co.uk