WORK to demolish a Southampton school will begin later this year – with the building making way for housing.

Cash-strapped Southampton City Council has set aside £480,000 to knock down Oaklands School, with work set to start in September.

But council chiefs are hopeful an agreement can be struck for a new community group to take on the neighbouring Oaklands Pool.

The school, which only opened in September 1982, closed last year with its students transferring to the new Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill.

The council-run pool, which shares the same Fairisle Road site in Lordshill, shut last May, with the decision widely condemned by both councillors and residents.

Now the council’s Cabinet member for resources, Simon Letts, has said demolition work on the school site will start in September and could take up to a year to complete.

Once the work is completed, the site will be marketed for housing.

One building, a science block at the back of the school, will remain and may be taken over as the new home of the Lordshill Community Association.

The association is currently in discussions with the council about a potential takeover, which would see them vacate their home at a temporary building in Andromeda Road.

That site may then also be marketed for housing.

Cllr Letts says a “conglomerate” representing local residents’ associations, swimming clubs and schools which used to use the pool has handed in a 25-page draft business plan to take it on.

The group, called Oaklands Community Pool, contains several people with experience of running swimming pools.

Cllr Letts and council officers will look over the plan and, if it comes up to scratch, the group may be allowed to run the pool on a trial basis, possibly from as early as this autumn.

The cost of refurbishing the pool would be met jointly by the group and the council, with money from the housing development at the school site likely to be put into the project.

Cllr Letts said: “We don’t want to commit substantial amounts of public money unless we are sure it’s going to be a success.

“It’s about improving the facilities for local people, and making a permanent community facility available and bringing the pool back into use.”

The decision to close the pool was one reason why Coxford councillor Don Thomas resigned from the Labour group to form Labour Councillors Against The Cuts.

He said: “It is so disappointing we are approaching the first year anniversary of the closure of Oaklands Pool with the council no further forward with its plans.

“And with all hopes now on volunteers coming to manage and run this much-loved facility, I’m sceptical it will happen.”