New homes at former middle school given green light

A computer generated image of the Walnut Tree Walk development on the site of the former Stowmarket

A computer generated image of the Walnut Tree Walk development on the site of the former Stowmarket Middle School Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL - Credit: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL

Plans to build 38 new homes on the former Stowmarket Middle School site to help lower-income house hunters have been given the final go-ahead.

The former Stowmarket Middle School site. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

The former Stowmarket Middle School site. Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

The site was made redundant following the closure of the school in summer 2015 and has since been left empty.

A range of one-bedroom apartments and two-bedroom flats will be built alongside a number of two, three and four-beroom homes after the development was given final approval by Mid Suffolk District Council’s development control committee.

Alongside the homes in Walnut Tree Walk will be a total of 81 parking spots.

The properties offer a mixture of affordable housing, to be offered either as shared ownership or as social or affordable housing - where rent is calculated below the private market rate, in order to help households on low to moderate incomes.

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They are amongst more than 200 homes in Mid Suffolk’s social housing pipeline over the next two years – part of a multi-million pound investment by the council.

Julie Flatman, cabinet member for communities and housing, said: “When the county moved to a two-tier education system and the school site became redundant, we realised there was an opportunity to buy it as a brownfield site in order to help meet the town’s pressing need for affordable housing.

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“I’m delighted that we’re now able to breathe new life into this town centre site and provide more people with a place that they are proud to call home.”

Planners issued the formal decision notice on Wednesday, August 26, with contracts due to be awarded for the work over coming weeks.

The school closed five years ago after Suffolk County Council moved a two-tier education system, with students going just to primary and secondary schools.

The site was bought by the district council in 2017, along with Eye Day Care Centre in Wellington Road, under plans to change disused sites across the town into housing.

Two years later, plans were submitted to the district council.

Before the build begins, the current Victorian building will need to be taken down.

However, due to the age of the school, it is predicted that there will be asbestos present and a thorough check will be required before work can start.

The plans were drawn up by Norwich-based property and construction consultancy Ingleton Wood. Planner Nicol Perryman said: “We look forward to supporting Mid Suffolk District Council in delivering this stunning development in the town centre to help meet rising demand for affordable homes, whilst giving a new lease of life to the former middle school site.”

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