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Community sets out a vision for Edenbridge
8 March 2002 (896COS) (1/3)

Community groups and local organisations have joined forces to form the Edenbridge Vision Group to help save Eden Valley School from closure.

The move follows concern amongst parents and local people in Edenbridge about the proposed closure of the school.

The Group has produced an innovative plan called the 'The Edenbridge Vision' to turn the school into a college and a centre of learning and excellence in the town. It includes a marketing plan to encourage local parents to send their children to the facility.

Copies of the Edenbridge Vision have been given to Kent County Council, who fund the School, urging it to consider the alternative proposal before it takes a final decision to permanently close the School which, many fear, would have an adverse effect on the rural community.

The Edenbridge Vision aims to meet the needs of the whole community in the town in a new and innovative way and puts forward an integrated educational and community facility by working with partners.

The plan suggests proposals for how the school could be developed to become a thriving community college providing secondary education, vocational courses and lifelong learning and joining-up the services and facilities with the Astor Youth Centre.

Cllr Jill Davison, Sevenoaks District Council's Member for Edenbridge North says: "Eden Valley School must be kept open and it is essential that the needs of the children and the local community are fully met. It is vital that the Edenbridge Vision is given a chance to become a reality".

Cllr Davison continues: "Residents in Edenbridge must have convenient and sustainable access to services and facilities on one site, enabling a much higher level of community participation for all age groups."

Proposals for the school include:

  • retaining and expanding the school into a new Edenbridge
    College for secondary and vocational education
  • a nursery centre
  • a breakfast café
  • after school and homework clubs
  • vocational education centre, to include apprenticeships
  • a lifelong learning centre for adults of all abilities
  • a range of community support services including:
  • drugs and alcohol education linked to the Drug Action Team and
    the Communities Against Drugs agenda
  • health and information drop-in for young people and other health services
  • Police surgeries and Neighbourhood Watch meetings for all ages
  • voluntary sector facilities
  • refurbished youth facilities

For many years, Eden Valley School has provided secondary education for local children and hosted a range of community activities.

Both Edenbridge Town Council and Sevenoaks District Council reflect strong local opinion, by viewing the possible closure of the School with deep concern at a time when it is improving and community needs have been demonstrated through a variety of consultations.

In a recent community appraisal, 78% of the 1606 people surveyed supported the need for secondary education in the town.

At a public meeting on 6 February, the Edenbridge Vision was circulated by Edenbridge Town Council and generally endorsed by those present, including Sir John Stanley MP and Kent County Council Cabinet Member Cllr Peter Lake. It was also endorsed at the Edenbridge Town Forum on 7 February. There was overwhelming support for keeping the school as a centre for education, lifelong learning and community activity.

Community representatives will be attending KCC's Cabinet meeting on Monday 18 March to hear the debate about the future of the school.

Note to editors:
The Edenbridge Vision Group includes representatives from:


Eden Valley Parent's Action Group
Edenbridge Town Council
Sevenoaks District Council
Local KCC member Peter Lake

Another multi-agency group has worked on the proposal including local housing associations, West Kent College, the police, the voluntary sector, health providers, Edenbridge Baptist Church and youth workers.


Media contact: Daniel Whitmarsh in the Communications Team on 01732 227414.

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