Shropshire Star

Country house could become special school

A countryside house could be converted into a special needs school, if plans are approved.

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Telford & Wrekin Council will make a decision on the plans

Family Care Associates Ltd already operates Access School, a former working farm near Wem, and has applied to use Rodenhurst House, north of Rodington, as an education facility as well.

Application documents submitted by the company said the “tranquil rural setting” provided by both sites is “therapeutic” for children who struggle in mainstream education.

Rodington Parish Council will be consulted, and Telford & Wrekin Council will make its decision about the change-of-use application at a later date.

A supporting statement, prepared by planning agent Stuart Thomas on behalf of the Preston-based applicant, says: “Family Care Associates Ltd is a family-owned provider of fostering, residential and education services for children and young people. They own a network of properties, including former residential dwellings, that provide safety, security and care.

“Within Shropshire, Family Care owns and operates Access School, near Wem, an innovative SEN school converted from a working farm.

“Access School offers bespoke education for children aged six to 16 with social, emotional and mental health difficulties and learning difficulties.


“The school’s rural setting is therapeutic and calming for pupils who have struggled in traditional mainstream settings, helping them stabilise and thrive in a therapeutic learning environment.

“The services provided by Access School are in high demand and there is a local requirement for additional SEN placement in the Telford and Wrekin Council area. This application, therefore, seeks consent for Family Care to establish an SEN school at Rodenhurst Hall.”

Mr Thomas explains that, despite being on the southeast edge of Rodenhurst Business Park, the six-bedroom house offers a “tranquil rural setting” with “views out over surrounding agricultural land”.

“The hall, when fully operational, will provide accommodation to meet the educational needs of approximately 12 pupils,” he adds.

“Some minor internal alterations are required to enable the change of use. Nonetheless, no external changes are proposed and the character and appearance of the building would remain unaltered.”

According to the Rodington History Group, the current exterior of Rodenhurst Hall dates from the 19th century, but a house could have been on the site hundreds of years earlier than that.

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