PLANS by Devizes School to sell off acres of its playing fields for housing have sparked a mixed response.

Some agree with head Phil Bevan that money generated by the sale of 5.7 acres would be well spent on giving the school a facelift while others worry about losing open land and the effect of more housing on nearby roads.

Mr Bevan said that six weeks of consultation are to be held into the project to sell off land that borders Nursteed Road and which at that moment is used as two sports pitches.

He said: “This is a very exciting project which we hope can benefit not just the school but the whole Devizes community.

“There are a number of areas in the school that need improving such as the hall, changing rooms and art and drama spaces.

“We have fantastic pupils here and I would like for them to have things like a modern canteen and outside eating areas.”

But former councillor Noel Woolrych said: “Once green spaces, the lungs of the community, are lost they are irretrievable.”

Town councillor Chris Greenwood is also against the idea and said: “It amounts to selling off around a third of the playing field, and potentially boxes in the school with housing.”

But Devizes shop owner Iain Wallis urged people to fully understand the plan before objecting. He said: I think that if the school believe this is the best use of their resources and can show that in their plans then the community should support them.

“They seem very positive about this move and whilst it does warrant scrutiny I don’t think we should rush to judgement.

“I can’t see the head agreeing to disposing of land which is needed.”

A public meeting will be held at the school on Monday at 6.30pm. Mr Bevan and Dr Nicholas Capstick CEO of the White Horse Federation will explain the scheme and answer questions.