BULLDOZERS are set to move in to demolish the former Alderman Blaxill School in Colchester in a matter of months.

Essex County Council has announced the timetable for tearing down the former school and building a new 900-place school.

The demolition will begin in September with construction on the new school due to begin in February 2018.

The new school is due to open in September 2019.

The outline business plan has been approved and the work will go ahead once planning permission is approved.

Councillor Lyn Barton (Lib Dem) said: “I am delighted that at last we have certainty about the future of the site.

“We have campaigned long and hard to keep it as an educational establishment and residents are relieved with the outcome.

“A school site fit for purpose will greatly benefit young people on the estate and offer first-class facilities to community groups.

“Thanks to our high-profile campaign and the support of the Gazette in publicising it, Essex County Council did listen to residents and a new school with community facilities is the result.”

The county council said it has already spent £25million creating 1,700 new school places in the Colchester area since 2013/14.

But as Colchester continues to grow rapidly, it needs the infrastructure to support that growth.

The county council believes Colchester needs 16 extra classes per year group at secondary school level by 2025.

Expansion projects are already underway at Philip Morant School and College and the Stanway School.

Ray Gooding, councillor for education and Lifelong Learning at Essex County Council, said the number of pupils moving up from primary to secondary school is to increase dramatically from this September, creating the need for hundreds more places.

He said: “The expansions at Stanway School and Philip Morant School, together with a proposed free school in north Colchester and these plans for the former Alderman Blaxill site, will help ensure there are enough places to meet that demand.”

An academy trust has also submitted a free school application to provide a secondary school on the site in Paxman Avenue, but the Department for Education is unlikely to make a decision on that until spring.

Therefore, the council is pushing ahead with its own project, aiming to have it completed by September 2019.

Essex County Council had originally hoped to increase the number of secondary school places in the Colchester area by opening a new school on the former Alderman Blaxill site in 2017.

But research found keeping the old school would be costly.

Instead, expansions of Stanway and Philip Morant schools were agreed buying the county council time before the new school is completed.