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COLYTON: Parish councillor pushes for new school at CeramTec site

Thursday, 31 July 2014

FOR SALE: The CeramTec site is currently being marketed for industrial use by Alder King

FOR SALE: The CeramTec site is currently being marketed for industrial use by Alder King

A PARISH councillor has expressed his hopes that the CeramTec factory site in Colyton, which is currently up for sale, will be put to good use with a new primary school for the town. Speaking at this month’s Colyton Parish Council meeting, Councillor Ken Clifford said the 7.58 acre site on Sidmouth Road provided a “potential for Colyton and the local area which must not be allowed to slip away”. Councillor Clifford said there was a lot of local concern about the possibility of a major developer buying the site and building a “mass of housing”, adding: “But the site is also an ideal place for a new, modern school as our existing primary school is full to the brim.” Councillor Clifford asked his fellow council members to “remember our forefathers who had the foresight to build a new Colyton Grammar School in the 1920s”. He suggested that the existing Colyton Primary School at The Butts could be sold to help fund the new build and the site would also provide ample space for school parking and some industrial units. He was also concerned that the existing arrangement between CeramTec and the school, which allowed staff and parents to park at the industrial site, would be lost when the site was bought which would cause further traffic problems in the town. Councillor Clifford said that previous plans for a new primary school had been met with much local approval but the scheme never went ahead as the land was bought by developers for housing at Newberry Close in the 1980s. He added: “I suggest the council delve into this as a matter of importance.” Councillor Sheila Smith asked: “Who is going to buy it? I heard it’s worth £50million, who is going to pay that? How are we going to encourage this to become a new school?” Councillor Clifford said he realised the idea had “pitfalls and difficulties” but added: ‘If we don’t start looking at this now it’s going to slip away. It may be a dream but if you don’t have dreams it will slip away. “I just wanted to get the ball rolling and with the backing of all of you we could achieve something.There’s no harm in trying.” Council chairman Andrew Parr said his first priority for the site was employment uses but if this was not possible the council could suggest a new school. Councillor Clifford agreed that continued use for employment was important but he believed the site was large enough for a school and industrial units. It was agreed that the council would approach Colyton Primary School with the idea before speaking to the county council. The CeramTec site is currently being marketed for industrial use by Alder King. Staff at the factory were informed in January that the factory could possibly close before the company held a consultation process with workplace representatives. A statement issues this week by CeramTec stated: “Regrettably, during the consultation process no viable plan could be formulated to counter the CeramTec Group proposal for closure of the manufacturing facility in Colyton and transferring the manufacture of these products to their global network. CeramTec Group has, therefore, taken the difficult decision to cease manufacturing at their Colyton site during the first quarter of 2015. “The CeramTec Group recognises the huge efforts made by the UK company and its hardworking employees through a wide variety of initiatives, but these have sadly not been sufficient to counter the overall challenging economic environment, particularly in recent years, and the changing market conditions affecting the group’s UK business. “The transfer of products into the global network is anticipated to take place in phases during 2014 and will preserve current products and customer relationships. “In partnership with workplace representatives, the company has engaged a nationally recognised outplacement firm to help staff in very real and practical ways to cope with the effects of this decision. “The CeramTec Group is very sorry to have to make this announcement, particularly when the UK company has worked so hard to try to bring the factory into profitability. We would like to thank all the staff at the Colyton factory for their considerable hard work over the years and for the way in which they have dealt with this very difficult decision. We will make every endeavour to assist them in their transition out of the business.”


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