Legal challenge to halt closure of Norfolk primary stops - but campaigners say fight will continue

PUBLISHED: 10:11 17 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:11 17 January 2018

Alderman Swindell School.

Alderman Swindell School. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

The legal challenge against the closure of a Great Yarmouth school has come to a close - but campaigners have vowed to keep up the fight.

In October, it was confirmed that the Norfolk County Council plans to close Alderman Swindell Primary and merge it with nearby North Denes Primary would go ahead, after months of consultation.

It has been a controversial proposal, with a protest march organised, campaign group formed and legal challenge launched.

But the campaign group has now said plans to start a judicial review - where a court reviews the lawfulness of a decision taken by a public body - into the decision have been abandoned.

To move forward, the group would have had to raise tens of thousands of pounds in just a few days.

Rebecca Clark, who has been involved with the fight, said: “We were on a time scale for the judicial review, which is three months from the date that they made the decision. The cut off for filing the judicial review was January 20.

“We had fundraised for legal help, but the amount of time we had to be seen as financial viable meant we had no choice but to stop the process.”

MORE: Council study explores option of creating complex needs school after primary closes

She said the costs would have been in the region of £80,000.

But she vowed that the group would continue to fight the move and added: “Regardless of the end of the legal fight, this will not just be left.”

The current North Denes will be replaced with a new, £7m building, details of which are yet to be released.

Mick Castle, county councillor for Yarmouth North and Central, said: “I must say that I am relieved that everyone can now concentrate on working for a smooth merger of the Alderman Swindell and North Denes Primaries from this autumn, and delivering new 21st century school buildings for the enlarged school on the North Denes campus.”

Debbie Whiting, head at North Denes, previously said the merger presented an opportunity to educate youngsters in a “modern, well-equipped environment, rather than in two old buildings that aren’t fit for purpose”.

MORE: Plans to close Great Yarmouth primary and merge it with another will go ahead

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