More than 60 jobs could be created at new residential school

Up to 65 jobs could be created under plans to open a new residential special school.

Poole Meadow, Albrighton. Picture: Google Street View.
Poole Meadow, Albrighton. Picture: Google Street View.

Plans have been revealed for a farmhouse just outside Albrighton to be redeveloped into a school, with outbuildings to be demolished and replaced with three residential homes accommodating a total of 18 children.

The seven-bed house, Poole Meadow, sits in 15.5 acres of grounds off Beamish Lane and has been on the market for £1.8 million.

It is now being purchased by Witherslack Group, which operates nearly 50 special schools, children’s homes and vocational training centres across England.

Its plans for Poole Meadow would see the house extended and internal alterations carried out to create classrooms, meeting rooms, offices and a cafeteria.

A multi-use games area (MUGA) and staff and visitor car park would also be created on the site.

A planning statement submitted by Berrys, the company’s planning agent, says there is local demand for special educational needs (SEN) school places in Shropshire.

It says Poole Meadow has been selected as an appropriate site for a new school due to its rural location, where children will “benefit from a much quieter environment that offers a more nurtured relationship with the local environment”.

The statement says: “The school will provide a high-quality residential and educational environment for children with learning difficulties, moderate learning difficulties, social, emotional and mental health, speech, language and communication needs and complex needs.

“It is therefore an important community facility that provides significant economic and social benefits.

“The application site has been identified by the applicants as it provides the unique characteristics necessary to ensure the specialist educational and residential environment required by its future occupants.”

The site lies in ‘open countryside’ in planning terms and is in the West Midlands Green Belt. Both of these factors normally mean new developments are resisted.

However the statement says “no adverse impacts have been identified as arising from the proposed use of the site” on its surroundings.

The planning application will be decided by Shropshire Council.

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