By Ian Dipple Friday 16 August 2013 Updated: 16/08 10:50
A FORMER school could be turned into flats under plans currently being consulted on, but the timing of the announcement has been criticised.
Developer Stuart Dudley has applied for permission to convert the old Meadows First School site off Stourbridge Road, into 14, one and two bedroom flats. The school was closed in 2009 and a new through school campus created with Parkside Middle School on part of the site.
Worcestershire County Council had planned to turn it into a residential learning centre for young people who had been in care, but the plans never materialised for financial reasons.
But the latest proposal has sparked concerns from residents nearby about the fact the flats will be accessed from the same site as the entrance to the existing schools, with one describing it as a ‘recipe for an accident’.
Alan Mitchell, of The Flats, also voiced concerns planning notices were only put up after the school year had ended and the consultation ends on August 21, before term time starts again.
“The introduction of the additional hazard of vehicles coming out of the proposed development into the direct path of parents and children coming from the direction of The Flats who are crossing the school entrance, dicing with vehicles driven by other parents entering and leaving the school after dropping their children off before the gates are closed, is introducing an unacceptable risk to the parents and children.”
Other concerns include increased traffic in the area, which residents say is already gridlocked at school pick up and drop off times, with people parking on double yellow lines and pavements.
But Mr Dudley said he had consulted with the headteacher and some governors from Meadows First School in May before the plans had been submitted, and suggested residents of the new flats were likely to leave work and arrive home before and after school hours.
“All the people I have spoken to locally are delighted the building is being retained,” he said.
“The building could be demolished, that’s the easy way of developing, but we have chosen to take the hard route of refurbishing it because it’s an important building and it will be delightful once it’s completed.”
The application will be decided by the planning committee at a future date but Mr Dudley will not be allowed to attend as he is also a Bromsgrove councillor.
A spokesman for Bromsgrove District Council said they had to determine planning applications in a set time which is why site notices went up on July 31, but letters were also sent to neighbouring residents and comments could be accepted up until the day the application was considered by the planning committee.
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