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Wolverhampton Council rejects its own homes plan

By Pete Madeley | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Wolverhampton council has been forced to put on hold its own multi-million pound plan to build a housing estate at the site of a former school over fears it has been 'poorly designed'.

The old Wednesfield High School site has been earmarked for homes

The authority wants to build more than 250 homes on land previously occupied by Wednesfield High School, which was burnt down by arsonists in 2014.

But despite being advised to approve the scheme, the council's cross-party planning committee threw it out by six votes to four, citing 'serious flaws' with the plans.

Council bosses will now have to go back to the drawing board to revamp the plans before resubmitting them to the committee in January.

Conservative Councillor Jonathan Yardley was among committee members who visited the Lakefield Road site last week.

He said it was clear that the plans, which the council submitted through its WV Living developments arm, gave rise to concerns that the area would be 'overdeveloped'.

"There were issues of poor design that arose from the site visit, where a number of serious flaws became evident," said Mr Yardley, who was approached by the Express & Star for a comment.

"We were told this scheme had all the necessary bells and whistles, but it seems that the council were trying to squash in as many homes as possible in an area that just wasn't big enough.

"There were no footpaths and the site was susceptible to flooding. We also had concerns about pressure on local schools and GPs that creating a site of this size would bring."

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The project – which has been 17 months in the making – was for 210 houses and 56 apartments 'with associated landscaping, highway amendments, parking and ancillary buildings'. A total of 70 of the properties were earmarked as council homes.

It was backed by the council's planning supremo Stephen Alexander, and was signed off by the authority's leader Councillor Roger Lawrence and the city's decision making cabinet.

A report recommending the plans stated: "The development is welcome in principle and would provide much needed housing in the city, creating new communities with housing of an appropriate tenure mix and high quality bespoke design.

"The development is acceptable and in accordance with the development plan subject the finalisation of the technical details, some minor amendments, and any necessary conditions."

Wolverhampton council spokesman Oliver Bhurrut, said: "The decision on the planning application for housing on the former Wednesfield High School site has been deferred until the January planning committee after the members asked for more information."

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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