THE site of a former school for children with special educational needs is set to be redeveloped into 60 apartments for older people.

Essex County Council has revealed plans to sell the former premises of Lexden Springs School, in Halstead Road, Colchester.

Lexden Springs relocated to a new, purpose-built facility on the former Heath School site, in Winstree Road, Stanway, in 2019.

The £19million project meant the school was able to increase capacity from 120 to 200 pupils and add boarding capacity for some students.

The expansion of Lexden Springs School formed part of Essex County Council’s plans to spend up to £115million on special educational needs places across Essex.

The site in Halstead Road has been empty ever since.

Now Essex Housing, which is Essex County Council’s housing development arm, has unveiled plans to develop the site into an independent living facility for older people.

The “much needed” facility will be subject to a design and planning process which is due to get underway soon.

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It will include in the region of 60 self-contained apartments all of which will meet the criteria for affordable housing.

Communal facilities and open space, which could be shared with the wider community, will also be considered.

Tony Ball, County Hall’s economic development boss, said: “This site is a perfect example of how Essex Housing is striving to deliver the new homes our county so desperately needs.

Gazette: Essex county councillor Tony BallEssex county councillor Tony Ball

“Within the Colchester area there is a particular need for independent living properties designed to support older people, so I’m pleased that we are looking to create these homes and help people maintain their independence.

“Land owned by the public sector is owned by the taxpayers, so it is critical to ensure it is used to best effect and I’m certain this scheme brings excellent value for money for our Essex taxpayers.”

Independent living homes are available for people aged over 55 and are more affordable than market homes.

Developments are tailored to the needs of older people who want to live in their own home but have on-site care and support 24 hours a day.

Following a design process, Essex Housing expects to submit a planning application for the Colchester development.