Homes scheme for former village school given approval

The Victorian former Stanton primary school building for which planning permission has been granted

The Victorian former Stanton primary school building for which planning permission has been granted to convert into homes. Picture:GOOGLE - Credit: Google

Plans to convert a derelict former Suffolk primary school and its grounds into housing have been approved.

West Suffolk Council planners have given permission for the Victorian-built Stanton Community Primary School in Bury Lane, Stanton, to be converted into three residential units.

The development control committee meeting on Wednesday July 8 also gave outline planning permission to a parallel scheme to build seven homes on the site of a later school directly behind it and to develop on-site parking and existing access off Bury Lane.

Both applications are by Suffolk County Council, which no longer needs the sites following schools re-organisation.

The Victorian red-brick building was the village school until a new one was built behind it in the late 1970s, and would be converted into one two-storey dwelling and two single storey dwellings.

Its last use was as a pre-school unit but it has remained empty since it moved to a new adjacent building that is now the Bluebells Children’s Centre a decade ago.

The council’s conservation officer said although the Victorian building was not listed it was a “distinctive and prominent” feature in the village conservation area but conversion would have minimal impact on its external appearance.

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The plan for seven homes would entail demolishing the newer primary school building behind and developing the adjoining land. However this does not include the old school playing field, which would be preserved and turned into a community area.

The homes would be served by the current access road in Bury Lane which serves the site and the Bluebells centre.

However the junction will require upgrading and landscaping, including digging up a large hedge and the loss of a mature tree.

The village is now served by the current primary school in Upthorpe Road.

Members were told the new homes were not expected to result in pressure on places at the school, although ward councillor and committee vice chairman Jim Thorndyke warned there were only two places left.

“We have been trying to get that car park access altered for 40 years and were always told ‘No’, and now suddenly we’re told that we can,” he added.

“But we need to develop the site, we need to get it done.”

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