AN UNUSED area of land is set to be sold in order to allow for a new school building to be built.

On Monday, Southampton City Council’s cabinet agreed that land at the corner of Lime Street and Evans Street would be sold to the Department for Education.

This is in order to facilitate the construction a new two-form entry free school by allowing the currently one-form entry Hope Community School to expand.

The project is said to be worth £17m and will allow the Hope School to move out of its temporary home which is described as an “inappropriate facility”.

Leader of the council, Cllr Daniel Fitzhenry told the Echo that the creation of the new school will “further enhance the choice and the availability of school places.”

“We need new school places and there are a limited number of spaces you can put that in the city centre. This land is available and we’ve managed to get agreement from the landowner and the DfE to fund a new school so we’re very happy to progress with the sale of the freehold to facilitate it.”

Cllr James Baillie, Cabinet Member for Education added that it is “great news” the sale was approved.

He said: “I support the proposals to expand the existing local community school, giving the teachers and pupils who are currently in temporary accommodation the buildings and learning space they deserve.”

Hope Community School accommodates year groups R through to four with one class per year, but with the new building it is expected to double in size.

Cllr Darren Paffey, Labour’s Education spokesperson said though: “While we welcome Hope School getting a permanent home and new building, it is disappointing just how indifferent the Tory cabinet is to the impact their decision will have on other good schools nearby.

“They didn’t bother to consult other schools beforehand, and simply suggest ‘giving other schools information so they can prepare staff for redundancies’. This is shocking negligence from the Cabinet.

“The only silver lining was the Cabinet Member accepting Labour’s request to ensure empty classrooms can be used for the Special Educational Needs places that we desperately need locally.”

Daily Echo: Artist impressions of the proposed hotel between Lime Street and Evans Street by HGP Architects.Artist impressions of the proposed hotel between Lime Street and Evans Street by HGP Architects.

Last year, the site was the subject of another application to build a hotel with developers, Invest In Southampton, submitting plans for a 16-storey building including 283 hotel rooms.

This was expected to provide up to 60 new jobs and was approved by the council’s Planning Committee in November 2020, subject to the completion of a Section 106 legal agreement.

A council spokesperson said though: “Planning permission has not been issued for the hotel scheme because the Section 106 legal agreement has not been completed.”