Council cutbacks make school for pupils with behavioural difficulties “unviable”

11:03 15 April 2014

ECDC

ECDC

Archant

A special school for boys with behavioural problems could be closed and converted into a family home because financial cuts to councils has meant the facility is no longer viable.

Downham Lodge, in Second Drove, was purchased by Christopher Wright back in 1995 and converted into a private residential school for boys who were in care from Essex and Hertfordshire.

However, severe council cutbacks in recent years has meant that councils can no longer afford to send the boys up to Cambridgeshire and so the facility has been forced to close.

Mr Wright told council planners: “Due to the financial cutbacks suffered within the local authorities nationwide in recent years there have been severe restrictions on children and young people being placed in residential homes out of their county.

“This has had an impact on my business at Downham Lodge resulting in it not being viable and leaving me no alternative but to advertise to sell the property.”

Mr Wright added that a family from Little Downham has approached him about buying the property and using it as a family home and, as a result, he has applied to East Cambridgeshire District Council for permission to change the use of the building.

A decision on the plans is expected within the next eight weeks. To view the plans, or to have a say, visit www.eastcambs.gov.uk

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