Consultation to be launched on homes planned for former middle school

A CGI indicative map for the development of the former St Felix School site in Newmarket.

A CGI indicative map for the development of the former St Felix School site in Newmarket. - Credit: BLUE PENCIL DESIGNS/SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

A six-week public consultation will be launched on plans to turn a former middle school site in Newmarket into a 45-50-home development.

Suffolk County Council has prepared a development brief for the former St Felix School site in Fordham Road, allocated for 50 homes in the Forest Heath site allocations local plan in 2019.

On Tuesday night, West Suffolk Council’s cabinet agreed for the plans to go to public consultation to gather feedback.

Sara Mildmay-White, Conservative deputy leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “I thoroughly endorse this going out to consultation. As we know the school closed in 2012 and the site has been empty for all that time. Quite frankly, it is certainly time something was done with this site.”

The plans propose developing homes on the already-developed part of the school site, and moving the tennis courts onto the public open space which will be provided on the former playing fields.

David Roach, Conservative cabinet member for planning and ward member for Haverhill West at West Suffolk Council.

David Roach, Conservative cabinet member for planning and ward member for Haverhill West at West Suffolk Council. - Credit: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

David Roach, Conservative cabinet member for planning, said: “Any development must also protect and enhance the amenity and biodiversity of the ‘Yellow Brick Road’ which is adjacent to the site.

“The draft development brief is in line with the requirements of the allocation except that the existing tennis courts are proposed to be re-provided in the public open space in order to achieve the most efficient use of the space for the residential element of the scheme.

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“Whilst this is a departure from the policy requirement, this is considered to be acceptable as it improves potential for better residential layout."

In its development brief for St Felix School, the county council said it “will be important that the appearance and materials are appropriate to the location and in keeping with the character of Newmarket,” and said it “should prioritise non-car modes of travel and reduce vehicle movements onto the network to manage impact on horse movements around the town”.

It plans to keep most of the trees on the site, and 30% of the new homes would be designated as affordable.

There remains the possibility for future sports facilities to be built on the site, although that is still up for discussion between the district and county councils.

A date for the consultation is set to be announced in due course.