FEARS are growing over the future of the Woodlands Academy site after a council memo seemed to reveal the site is earmarked to be sold for development.
In a memo to councillors reviewing polling stations, Coventry Council appears to have confirmed the site of the historic all-boys comprehensive school will be sold for future housing development.
Buried at the bottom of the document, which stated the council needed to find a new location for a polling station following the closure of the school in June this year, it read: “Woodlands Academy: School closed and land in negotiations to be sold – Look for alternative location.”
This is the first mention of the site being used for development following its closure and the relocation of the boys to neighbouring all-girls Tile Hill Wood school in Nutbrook Avenue from the start of term in September this year.
Woodlands Ward councillor Gary Ridley said he was shocked when he read the ‘appalling’ memo and called for the council to come clean about their plans for the site.
“There have been a lot of rumours swirling around in the community for some time about the council’s plans to sell the site.
“But each time I went to council officers to confirm whether they were true I was told the council has no plans to develop the site.
“Either the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing in the council, or there has been a serious level of deception.”
Coun Ridley said he and fellow Conservative ward councillors, Coun Peter Male and Coun Julia Lepoidevin, were now calling on the council to officially state its plans for the future of the site.
But the council claims the information on the memo regarding the sale of Woodlands Academy’s land was an error.
In an email sent to councillors on Wednesday – hours after our story broke online on Tuesday evening – the council’s electoral services manager, Liz Read, responded to the allegations.
Ms Read claimed the line ‘Woodlands Academy: School closed and land in negotiations to be sold’ in the original memo was a mistake, and said: “Further to emails below I would like to advise of an error on the Woodlands notes.
“This should simply have read that the school was closed.”
A Council spokesperson added: “The Council does not have control of the Woodlands site and is not in any negotiations regarding its disposal.
“The Department for Education funded the academy and are now the holders of the lease.
“The Council is the freeholder of the site which is subject to a long lease to the Woodlands Academy which is still in place
“The School has confirmed that it remains open for community and sports use until August 2017.
“Whilst there are no pupils at Woodlands from this September – the Academy still exists and is funded until August 2017 to permit the transition of sites.
“The Council have had no discussions with the school about the future of the Woodlands site beyond September 2017.”