HAMPSHIRE County Council has said talks are ongoing regarding the future of the Fort Hill Community School site, despite confirmed plans to demolish it.

Residents in Winklebury believe the county council is leaving them in the dark about what the site is going to be used for.

However, the county council says it has marked the site as a key area for the Winklebury regeneration project.

Leader of the county council, councillor Roy Perry said: “As publicly stated in the media and through stakeholder communications, the county council is working with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, the Winklebury Action Group and the wider community to identify an option for the site’s future use that will have the most positive impact on the area’s regeneration and its community.”

However, residents have argued they have been left in the dark.

The county council said keeping the buildings in community use is unfeasible due to their age and condition along with high maintenance and running costs.

Cllr Perry added: “Our decision to demolish the school buildings was made only after exploring fully the options for their re-use and taking in to account their current condition and potential future running costs.

“In demolishing the buildings, we are paving the way for alternative use to be made of the site for the benefit of the local community.

“The existing pre-school nursery provision currently delivered from the site is to be maintained and, as part of any future proposals, we will be looking to incorporate this facility into future plans.

“We will also be mindful that any proposals will need to respect the site’s status as a protected Scheduled Ancient Monument.”

“We remain committed to working in partnership with the borough council, the Action Group and local community to develop proposals for the site, as part of the area’s regeneration, and key to this will be engagement, and consultation, with the community before any final decisions are made.”

This week, Basingstoke Heritage Society has urged that the plans must protect the Iron Age hill fort at the site.

Debbie Reavell, society secretary, said: “What other town has an Iron Age hill fort in the middle of it? You wouldn’t look at building over Old Sarum, for example.

“There hasn’t been a lot of consultation outside of Winklebury but ultimately that hill fort belongs to the whole of Basingstoke.

“It needs to just be respected but also interpreted and for people to be able to really know more about it. That’s something that can be quite difficult to convey to people as well as the closeness of the Roman road in that area.”

The last batch of Fort Hull students, going through Year 11 and their GCSE examinations, departed the site at the end of the last academic year earlier this summer.