A school in Ely is looking to regenerate an “unsafe” building in order to create a new “state of the art” sixth form centre. 

Plans have been submitted to East Cambridgeshire District Council to refurbish the Needham Tower block in Ely College. 

The school, in Downham Road, is part of the Meridian Trust group of academies. 

In the plans submitted to the district council the academy trust said the current sixth form provision was “not suitable” and that a new facility was needed. 

The trust said it had received funding to provide new post-16 education facilities and set out its hopes to refurbish and convert the Needham Tower into a new “state of the art” sixth form centre. 

The academy trust said the existing four-storey building was “underutilised”, with the school only using the ground and first floor due to the upper floors being deemed “unsafe”. 

It added that there was confirmed asbestos within the building and said it was in a “poor state of repair”. 

Under the plans the building will be refurbished and the exterior re-clad. The academy trust said the building will also be made net zero with solar panels put in place on the roof, and an air source heat pump installed 

The trust said: “As part of the proposal, we are not looking to create more teaching space on the school campus, instead we are proposing to substantially refresh the existing underutilised accommodation and make it fit for purpose. 

“The current interior condition of the teaching spaces is poor due to lack of use and under investment from past and failed governance. 

“The vision of Bishop Laney Sixth Form Ely College and Meridian Trust is to transform, re-imaging this poor condition building and to turn it into a symbol of regeneration, this is environmentally carbon neutral and reaches zero net carbon targets for energy consumption. 

“We strongly believe that these old buildings still have a future and a purpose and can be adapted to suit the needs of the current and future generations attending the school.” 

Principal of Ely College and Bishop Laney Sixth Form, Simon Warburton, said: "This marks an exciting next step in our plans to create a new purpose-built home for Bishop Laney Sixth Form.

!The project will empower us to provide further high-quality education locally and will greatly enhance the learning environment for the young people in our community.

"We are deeply grateful for the support received so far and eagerly anticipate sharing more details when we are able to."