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The trustees of a historic country estate have defended the donation of land which could see a new school and 350 homes built.

Honywood Community Science School in Coggeshall has announced its intention to fund a £30m rebuild by selling land to developers for housing.

The project has become a possibility after the neighbouring Marks Hall Estate donated some of its land to the school.

Opponents of the scheme have accused trustees of going against the will of Thomas Phillips Price, who left the 2,300-acre estate to the nation “In the interest of agriculture, arboriculture and forestry” upon his death in 1932.

Trustee Graeme Fraser Steele said: “The enabling residential development will not only allow for the provision of inspiring new school premises, playing fields and facilities for the benefit of the entire community, it will also provide considerable financial contribution to the Marks Hall Estate, allowing us to safeguard its future."

Braintree and Witham Times: