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WOLVERHAMPTON: Go-ahead for new housing at former school site

WOLVERHAMPTON: Go-ahead for new housing at former school site

PIC: Accord Housing design

Housing bosses have approved long-term plans to build 178 new homes on the site of a former Wolverhampton school.

Proposals to redevelop land previously occupied by Northicote School, Bushbury, were given the green light after WV Living amended plans to scale the number of homes down from 196.

The school, in Northwood Park Road, closed in 2014 and the premises was finally demolished in 2018.

Following consultations with residents and council officers, work on the new estate will see a mixture of two, three and four-bedroomed homes being built – with a number being kept as ‘affordable’ social rental properties.

Each property will be built off-site at Accord Housing’s timber frame factory, LoCal Homes in Walsall, with a view of making them more environmentally-friendly.

Prior to the approval of the amended plans, two community engagement sessions were held which saw a large number of people coming out in support of the scheme.

However, earlier proposals also drew criticism from people concerned about the impact the new development would have on existing roads and facilities.

A planning statement said: “Views in favour of the proposal included support for new housing needed in the area, particularly affordable property, locational advantages given the adjacent park, together with the jobs and skills that would be encouraged by the work.

“The greatest areas of concern were around infrastructure and increased traffic.

“Other issues raised are stated as lack of, or additional pressure on infrastructure; GPs and schools; details of design and road layout; parking; and loss of trees.”

The new plans will incorporate a series of new pathways as well as significant landscaping to enhance the adjacent park and green spaces.

Local resident Michelle Webster said: “I object to the amount of trees that are going to have to be knocked down to build these houses, given that right now our planet needs more trees to be planted.

“I do not object to the land where the school previously stood being turned into housing. I understand that more housing is needed, but do feel that this housing should not be built at the expense of local wildlife.”

Northicote was the first school in Britain to be condemned as “failing” by Ofsted shortly after the organisation’s creation in 1992, but within five years it had been transformed into a “successful and over-subscribed school” under the leadership of head teacher Geoff Hampton.

Following the turnaround, Mr Hampton received a knighthood for services to education before departing to take up a professor’s role at the University of Wolverhampton.

The school was built to serve both secondary modern and grammar streams in the expanding Bushbury area during the 1950s, before converting to a comprehensive school in the 1970s.

By 2011 it had merged with Pendeford Business and Enterprise College to become the North East Wolverhampton Academy before closing down.

Words: Joe Sweeney, Local Democracy Reporter

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