School set to be built on old leather factory site in Walsall

A new school building looks set to be built on the site of a former leather factory which was destroyed in a huge fire.

The school
The school

Members of Walsall Council’s planning committee are expected to grant permission for a new facility for The Ladder School to be constructed on the former Shannons Mill site on George Street.

The school, which is part of The Mercian Trust, said it needs a new facility because it has outgrown its current home in Millennium House in Lower Hall Lane.

A separate application for the construction of a teaching block elsewhere on the same site to serve Walsall Studio School – which is part of the same trust – will also be considered at the meeting on Thursday.

The Grade II-listed Shannons Mill was destroyed in an inferno back in August 2007, caused by a suspected arson attack. The site has been fenced off and remains empty since.

It was initially hoped the area would be redeveloped for retail usage but with changes to shopping habits and with a number of empty units in the town centre, officers said the principle of a school on the site was acceptable.

As well as a new school building, there will be a multi-use games area and parking for 38 spaces.

The report said: “The site is currently vacant, having previously been occupied by a Grade II listed Victorian mill building which was destroyed by fire in 2007 and subsequently demolished.

“The Ladder school is an Alternative Provision school for pupils in years 9-13, to cater for the needs of young people within the local community and to offer something different educationally.

“The Ladder School will support young people at risk of exclusion from mainstream provision, primarily because of behavioural difficulties or because their needs cannot be met in a mainstream setting.

“There are currently 23 staff and 40 pupils. This could increase to 26 staff and 112 pupils.

“The proposed development will provide a permanent and purpose built home for the Ladder School with high quality teaching accommodation and outdoor space.”

The proposal for Walsall Studio School will involve the construction of a two storey teaching block and a footbridge to connect with the existing facility in the Goldmine Centre in Lower Hall Lane.

Officers are asking the committee to grant them delegated authority to approve the applications once concerns raised over flooding have been addressed.

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