Play area could replace WI building

A former Women’s Institute building could be demolished and replaced with a play area, if plans are approved, making up for the expected loss of one less than half a mile away.

The derelict Women's Institute building, opposite the Albion Street and Station Hill junction, in St Georges, Telford. Picture: Google
The derelict Women's Institute building, opposite the Albion Street and Station Hill junction, in St Georges, Telford. Picture: Google

The derelict venue on Station Hill, St Georges, is a “blight on the community and a focus for anti-social behaviour”, Telford and Wrekin Council planning application documents say, so the authority plans to knock it down and repurpose the third-of-an-acre site.

In a separate application, council-owned housing provider Nuplace Ltd is proposing to refurbish The Gower, a Victorian-built former school, and build new homes on the playground behind it.

A statement supporting the WI demolition says equipment from there could be reused at the newly-created play area, if suitable.

St Georges and Priorslee Parish Council will be consulted, and the borough council’s planning department will make its decision at a later date.

A statement by Telford and Wrekin Council supporting the application says: “The demolition seeks to address a long-standing vacant and derelict building within St Georges which is a blight on the community and a focus for anti-social behaviour.

“The change of use to a play area will facilitate the installation of a range of play equipment to compensate for the potential loss of play equipment at The Gower.

“Proposals for the new play equipment to be installed at the WI building site are currently being developed by the council’s Healthy Space design specialist in consultation with specialist play equipment contractors.

“It is proposed that, wherever practicable, existing play equipment at The Gower is removed and reused in the new play provision at the former WI building site.

“However, due to the age of some of the equipment and the fact that relocation may not be possible without causing damage, relocated equipment will be supplemented with new equipment as appropriate.”

The Gower, on Gower Street, was built in 1873. It originally served as a cottage hospital before converting into a school, which then closed in 1960.

Nuplace’s application includes refurbishing the grade II listed building to add three flats and community facilities inside it and place 10 two-bedroom houses and four one-bedroom apartments behind it. It is due to go before the borough’s Planning Committee at a later date.

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