The proposed sale of the council’s seafront headquarters in Hove has been criticised by the Conservatives.
Brighton and Hove City Council wants to sell King’s House for £9 million and move staff to a refurbished Hove Town Hall.
The Conservative spokesman on children and young people, Councillor Andrew Wealls, said that the plans for King’s House should include a much-needed primary school.
He believes that the shortage of places in Hove will be exacerbated if the council HQ becomes housing.
A decision about whether to sell King’s House, a grade II listed building in Grand Avenue, Hove, will be made by the council’s Policy and Resources Committee next Thursday (12 September).
Councillor Wealls said: “We have been arguing for some time that it is not possible to justify keeping King’s House as office accommodation for council staff.
“However, while we agree that it should be sold, we certainly do not agree with the Green administration’s proposals that the proceeds of the sale should be spent entirely on sprucing up other council buildings for staff.
“The shortage of new school places in Hove has now gone beyond crisis point and, therefore, we shall be submitting a proposal at the Policy and Resources Committee meeting that the newer rear part of King’s House should be set aside for a new three-form entry primary school.
“We strongly believe that the need for new school places is much greater than the need for revamped office accommodation for council staff.”
He said that fellow councillors should remember a number of facts
- This location for a primary school is ideal
- There is sufficient play space at ground level beneath the building
- There is ample car parking space underground
- Accessibility is excellent with many major bus routes along nearby Church Road
- The school would be in an area of extremely high demand with the south central Hove zone being short of 168 reception places in September 2013 and with the shortage forecast to rise to 225 places by 2016
- Nearby infant and primary schools are heavily oversubscribed – for September 2013 Davigdor Infant School received 367 applications (first, second and third choice) for 120 places, St Andrew’s CE Primary received 282 applications for 60 places and West Hove (Connaught) Infants received 343 applications for 120 places
- The administration’s City Plan allows for 400 homes at the King Alfred Leisure Centre and a further 600 homes at Hove Station but the projected shortfall in places in south central Hove take no account of this substantial number of new homes
- Children are directed to schools as far away as West Blatchington and Moulsecoomb placing an incredible strain on local families with infant children
- Any traffic arising from the use of the building as a school is unlikely to be greater than from the current staff and visitors to King’s House
- There are no other possible sites for primary schools anywhere near by