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Harbour referral unit opens today

PUBLISHED: 09:39 13 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:13 06 July 2010

A CONTROVERSIAL new pupil referral unit will be officially opened in Lowestoft today, bringing to a close years of fighting.

The new Harbour unit, in Saturn Close, has been a subject of much debate after local residents submitted a 180 signature petition against the plans late last year.

A CONTROVERSIAL new pupil referral unit will be officially opened in Lowestoft today, bringing to a close years of fighting.

The new Harbour unit, in Saturn Close, has been a subject of much debate after local residents submitted a 180 signature petition against the plans late last year. But today signals the beginning of a new era for the unit as pupils are able to enjoy more space at the site on the playing field at Harris Middle School.

Harbour Pupil Referral Unit first opened in 2003, offering youngsters with emotional or behavioural problems a way back in to mainstream school. It was housed in a mobile classroom on the site of Coleville House, but as the number of pupils and staff increased the need for a new home grew.

In 2006 plans were submitted for a new unit to be built on a green open space off Green Drive, in Pakefield, however a public inquiry on the matter ruled in favour of residents who wanted the area declared a public open space.

In August 2008 education chiefs at Suffolk County Council submitted new plans for the unit to be built in the grounds of Harris Middle School. These plans again ran into problems when 180 residents signed a petition complaining about the loss of 15pc of the playing field and raising fears about the amount of extra traffic that will be created.

In December 2008 Suffolk County Council unanimously voted to approve the £1.7m complex and in January this year the government refused to get involved in the dispute, opening the way for the unit.

Work began the following month and was completed last month.


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