HC Deb 19 November 1959 vol 613 cc1323-4
19. Mr. Braine

asked the Minister of Education whether, in view of the fact that no planning permission has been given for the use of the Congregational Church Hall at Rochford for teaching pupils of the Rochford Secondary School, and that this accommodation is considered unsuitable for this purpose by teachers, parents, the rural district council and the divisional education committee, he will discuss with the Essex Education Authority the immediate cessation of its use and, pending the building of a proper school, the provision of adequate alternative accommodation, possibly in the form of demountable classrooms.

Mr. K. Thompson

The Essex local education authority already has in hand the provision of new accommodation which will enable it to give up this hall by next April.

Mr. Braine

I wonder whether the Minister is correctly informed about this, because the view of the divisional executive concerned is that, until the new school is built, the present provision is quite inadequate. May I ask whether an inspector of his Department has been to see this most unsatisfactory accommodation?

Mr. Thompson

Yes, these conditions are well known to the Ministry and we agree that the hall now in use is not satisfactory. I am advised that the education authority has these plans in hand to enable it to give up the use of the hall altogether largely in the terms which I described to my hon. Friend a few days ago.

Dr. King

Is the Minister aware that this hall has no wall windows, that the lavatory conditions are deplorable and that the local planning committee has refused its consent for the building to be used for education at all? Is he aware that both teachers and parents are demanding that this be treated as a matter of supreme urgency?

Mr. Thompson

We are aware of those conditions and we are trying to get the children out of the hall as quickly as possible.