POPULAR playing fields could become the site of a new secondary school in north Colchester.

Planners say the Mile End recreation ground, off Ford’s Lane, would be big enough for a major new school.

The school could be among plans to build 2,200 homes in Mile End.

The 10 hectares of land is made up of football and cricket pitches used by teams from across the borough, as well as a pavilion, a play area and a car park.

A proposal would see the pitches transferred to land north of the A12, and the recreation ground turned into a facility aimed exclusively at Mile End residents.

Robert Johnstone, a resident and Myland Parish Council member, said community facilities promised to Mile End in the past had not materialised.

He added: “Until they put right the mistakes made in the past, I wouldn’t contemplate anything new.

“I wouldn’t like to see the secondary school taking away some of the few sports facilities we have left.

“If they were to build a secondary school on this site, then there would have to be a reduction in the number of houses.”

A “core strategy” for Colchester already states the whole area will see some 2,200 homes built by 2021.

The 100 hectares have been named the “North Growth Area Urban Extension”.

The “extension” would also see a neighbourhood centre and at least one primary school built. Chesterwell Woods would be retained.

The scheme is on top of 1,500 homes due to be built at Severalls Hospital and other ongoing developments at Turner Village and Braiswick Park.

But thoughts are being canvassed on whether the area needs another secondary school, and whether the Mile End playing fields should be altered.

Martin Goss, a councillor representing Mile End, said he had yet to make up his mind on either idea, but said the rapidly growing area needed its own secondary school.

He said: “I think people want a school. They realise that Gilberd or St Helena schools will be oversubscribed.

“I think people would welcome a school, but I’m just not sure if they would welcome it on that location.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what people think of that idea at the consultation.”

Earlier this year, Essex County Council asked for land to be reserved on the site for a secondary school, as a precautionary measure.

Separately, County Hall is closing Alderman Blaxill and Thomas Lord Audley schools as part of a £130million reorganisation of education in Colchester.

Colchester Council spokesman Laura Welham said no decisions had been made on whether a secondary school would be built in Mile End or how the Mile End playing fields would be used.