Shropshire Star

Housing work can start after sale agreed for derelict school site near Shrewsbury

Work can at last get underway on a new housing development on the site of a derelict school near Shrewsbury, after Shropshire Council agreed to sell the land.

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Oakland Primary School was vacated in 2009.

The former Oakland Primary School, in Bayston Hill, is being sold to Cornovii Homes, the council’s own development company, which has secured planning permission to demolish it and build 23 homes.

Cabinet members agreed to the sale at a meeting on Wednesday, and said it was good to see the project finally moving forward, 14 years after the school was vacated.

The money generated, expected to be around £650,000, will be ringfenced to be re-invested back into education.

Speaking at the meeting, Councillor Dean Carroll, portfolio holder for growth, regeneration and housing, said: “It is a positive story for Bayston Hill in that this site has been empty for come time and has attracted a degree of anti-social behaviour over the years.

“Bringing forward both the delivery of housing with local contractors and re-utilising an empty site is a positive for the village.”

Council leader Lezley Picton added: “I know people in Bayston Hill are going to be absolutely delighted about this because this has gone on for far too long.”

Planning permission for the development, which includes two affordable homes and public open space, was granted by the council’s northern planning committee in December.

A report to cabinet by Mark Barrow, director of place, says: “The Oakland school site was declared surplus to requirements and earmarked for disposal as set out in a previous cabinet report dated 27 September 2017.

“This incorporated the redevelopment of the Oakland School site and the adjacent land owned by the Diocese of Lichfield.

“This was however, discontinued. This report now details a proposal to dispose of just the Oakland School site – the land in Shropshire Council’s ownership only.”

The council and the diocese jointly obtained outline permission in 2019 for 52 houses and a community hub building, which would have housed the village library.

Putting forward the reduced scheme last year, Cornovii said it would no longer be able to incorporate a hub, but promised £200,000 of community infrastructure levy (CIL) funding.

In addition, the developer has agreed to pay £75,000 towards improvements to local playing fields, to mitigate for the loss of the school field.

The application originally proposed only a £20,000 contribution, but this was increased after the application was deferred by the planning committee in November when members said they were not satisfied with the amount.

The council has received a £335,000 government grant towards remedial work on the site.