School redevelopment set for rejection
By Kate MaxwellA PLAN to convert a disused school into a housing estate is set to be rejected by councillors.But discussions are continuing between St Felix and St George's School governors and planning officers over how best to use the site on the edge of Reydon, near Southwold.
By Kate Maxwell
A PLAN to convert a disused school into a housing estate is set to be rejected by councillors.
But discussions are continuing between St Felix and St George's School governors and planning officers over how best to use the site on the edge of Reydon, near Southwold.
The building previously occupied by St George's prep school has been empty since it merged with St Felix senior school last year in an attempt to prevent the closure of the prestigious senior girls' school.
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Permission has been granted to convert the disused school building, originally built as a sanatorium, into six terraced dwellings.
But school governors have submitted a second application to knock the existing building down and replace it with 11 four-bedroom detached homes for private sale, and three two-bedroom houses and two three-bedroom “affordable” houses.
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Ten objections to the proposal from residents have been received by Waveney District Council, plus three letters of support from interested parties.
Reydon Parish Council has already called for the application to be rejected because it was contrary to the Local Plan and would have an adverse effect on an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Waveney District Council's planning committee meets next week and the authority's planning officers have recommended it rejects the plan because of its “suburban nature” outside the village envelope.
However, the planning officers are willing to consider modifications to the plan and John Whyte, chairman of the school governors, said constructive discussions had been held with the council.
“We are working very closely with the planning department to answer all the questions regarding the refusal,” he added.
“Our meeting last week went well and we are close to an agreement. We are modifying what we submitted and trying to work closely so we can get the right scheme for the site.”
Mr Whyte said the planning officers were “sympathetic and understanding” of the school's need to make the most of its assets, as these will help pay off debts of £2.4 million and enable the combined schools, which will drop the St George's name in the next academic year, to move forward.
“This is part of our long-term strategy for recovery and timing is important. We would like to get plans agreed soon so we can start marketing the site in a month or two,” he added.