PLANS to build a new school in Colchester have officially been given the go-ahead.

The former Alderman Blaxill School in Paxman Avenue has been reduced to rubble to make way for a new 900-place secondary school.

The new school, which has been officially approved by Essex County Council, could open in September 2019.

It is hoped building will start in March.

The new building will include 22 new teaching rooms, two ICT rooms, seven science classrooms, two art rooms, five design and technology classrooms, a sports hall, kitchens, external sports facilities and plenty of parking for cars, bikes and coaches.

A county council report said: “Colchester is under significant pressure for education places.

“The town is expected to have a deficit of approximately 700 school places within the next five years.

“All but one of the Colchester secondary schools are expected to be operating at over capacity by the year 2021. It is considered the application has demonstrated a need for the proposed development.”

The report said the application was partly approved due to the urgent need for more school places.

Councillor Dave Harris (Lab) has been campaigning for a school to be kept at the site from the outset.

He said: “It’s brilliant news, it’s just another step in the process and I have been following it the whole way.

“The next stage will be the build, we don’t know what type of school it is going to be yet but at least the building will be there.”

He said what he wanted to see was an increase in the number of people cycling to school, as the roads in the area are not up to scratch for more cars.

The former school, which opened in 1955 and was named after educationalist and former mayor Alderman Blaxill, had a turbulent history, twice being saved before finally closing three years ago.

It is not known what the new school will be called yet but Mr Harris said he will remain open to ideas and wishes to hear what residents think.

Essex County Council bosses previously hinted the new school will not be named after Alderman Blaxill School as they are seeking a fresh beginning.

Mr Harris added: “I am over the moon, it will give education a whole new concept in that part of Colchester.”