PROPOSALS for the Portland Academy’s new £15million campus at Southwell have come under fire before they go before councillors.

The borough council will consider proposals on Wednesday for the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy (IPACA) to be located at Southwell Business Park.

The former managing director of the business park Ray Bulpit has spoken out against the controversial scheme as unsuitable for the site but the academy’s principal has insisted it will deliver a 21st century complex for students.

Mr Bulpit said that most academies elsewhere in the country are in newly-built premises.

He said: “The IPACA proposal involves conversion of an unsuitable building, constructed for an entirely different purpose 60-odd years ago, located remotely from the majority of the population, using funds of only £15 million to serve student numbers approaching 2,000.

“I raise the questions: are present and future students on Portland being treated as second-class citizens and will the course IPACA is following ultimately prove to be false economy?”

He added: “I therefore suggest that the current ill-conceived IPACA proposal be abandoned to allow a viable alternative scheme to be fully investigated.”

The council was due to vote on the application on December 12 last year but the academy trust temporarily withdrew its application for the site to allow time to address concerns raised about travel.

Revised proposals include alterations and extensions to existing buildings, the construction of a new sports hall and sports fields as well as re-organisation and additions to road, footpath and cycle routes.

The application outlines how the academy plan to turn the ground and first floor of Maritime House into the main school buildings and existing open areas of grassland to the south and east into sports fields.

IPACA Principal Alison Appleyard welcomed the plans.

She said: “The new Southwell Park campus will deliver that same high standard of 21st century facilities for all of our children, and enable us to realise the founding four schools' original vision of an all-through Academy, where the educational focus is on the stage each student has reached individually, not their age group."

The scheme also includes a new sports hall at the northern end of the main building with new changing rooms in Compass Terrace. It also suggests a reorganisation of the internal road system and parking as well as plans to modify the main site access from Sweet Hill Road.

Proposed access routes also include a new shared foot and cycle way link to Sweet Hill Lane and improvement works to the existing footpath to Reap Lane.

This would also see a new link to the south of Reap Lane.

The school would be bounded by the existing hotel to the south west and by the remaining business units to the north west.

The second and third floors of Maritime House would remain in residential use.

The plans show how the academy will manage travel between the campuses at Southwell Park and Osprey Quay, and gives more information about the provision of dedicated buses across the whole of Portland.

Proposals outline the schemes the academy will employ to encourage vehicle sharing and includes measures to ensure the important ecological nature of the site is protected.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s planning and traffic committee will discuss the plans at 10am in the Height’s Hotel on Portland after a visit to the site.

TOWN councillors objected to plans for Portland Academy's new £15million campus in November.

Members of Portland Town Council sent out a clear message to the Aldridge Foundation, lead sponsors of the Isle of Portland Community Academy (IPACA), by unanimously voting against the change of use planning application for Southwell Business Park.

IPACA opened at the beginning of the academic year and is based in four existing Portland schools on five separate campuses.

The Academy is a locally run, non-selective, co-educational state school for students aged between four to 19.

IPACA's aim is to relocate to two new sites by the beginning of the next academic year.

This includes Southwell Business Park, subject to the outcome of this planning application, and Osprey Quay, the new school recently completed in accordance with planning permission reference granted by Dorset County Council on 16 September 2010.