Heritage group plans for school

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The next chapter in the story of Ashton Middle School has opened.

The trustees of the Ashton Schools Foundation have chosen and exchanged contracts to sell the 5.09 acre Ashton Middle School site and buildings in Dunstable to leading heritage specialist Weston Homes in order to secure a new future for the historic site.

The middle school on Hugh Street North is due to close in August 2016 and the sale of the site will generate funds that will be reinvested in the other two schools under the Ashton Schools Foundation - Ashton St Peter’s Primary School and Manshead School.

Weston Homes was chosen as the purchasers of the site after extensive liaison with the Foundation and its consultants.

The award winning residential developer was established in 1987 and the company focuses on providing starter and family homes across South East England.

Weston Homes is a British owned, Stansted based, company which specialises in restoring historic and listed buildings with projects including the restoration and conversion of Royal Earlswood Park in Redhill, Preston Hall in Aylesford and the famous Denham Film Studios.

The Ashton Middle School site contains Grade II listed historic buildings, and Weston Homes will now liaise closely with the Foundation, the Council and the local community in order to create housing project proposals for the site which meet local housing needs and are focused around the careful preservation and sensitive restoration of the historic buildings on the site. Once consultation is undertaken proposals will be submitted to Central Beds Council for review and approval.

Dunstable Grammar School set up on the site in 1888 and famous old boys include the Hollywood actor Gary Cooper and Kevin McCloud from Grand Designs.

A petition set up to oppose the plans amid fears that the building could be demolished, failed to stop the decision to close it, which was agreed in 2014. Streetfield and Brewers Hill Middle Schools will also close.