Express & Star

Homes plan for redundant school site

A derelict former school site in Willenhall which is a target for anti-social behaviour could be transformed into a new housing development.

The site of the former Allens Centre in Hilton Road, Willenhall. PIC: Google Street View

Walsall Council has put forward plans to create 59 houses and apartments on land which once had the Allens Centre based on it, on Hilton Road.

If approved, the authority’s scheme will see 17 two-bedroom and 18 three-bedroom houses along with 15 one bedroom and nine two bedroom flats.

As well as bring the site back into use, the council said the homes will help address a shortfall of housing across the borough, adding the development also complements the Willenhall Framework Plan.

The redundant centre had become a magnet for trouble including arson attacks and vandalism before being demolished in 2015.

In a planning statement, agents Lambert Smith Hampton said: “The Willenhall Framework Plan sets out a 10-year vision for Willenhall which provides an ambition for housing growth and healthy, prosperous communities.

“Whilst the plan relates to the town centre, which the site is not located within, the Framework Plan indicates the priorities for Willenhall that were highlighted by existing communities in the area.

“One of these priorities was bringing derelict or redundant sites back into use.

“The proposal would help to achieve this aspiration, by bringing the redundant area on the site back into use for an active residential purpose, whilst also helping to address issues of anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

“It is starkly evident that there is an under-supply of housing within the district, with a shortfall of 2,074 dwellings over a five-year period.

“Whilst the delivery of 59 dwellings through the proposed development is modest within this scale of need, it is essential to support the delivery of suitable small and medium sized sites which are deliverable in the short-term.

“Given the lack of available sites and shortfall in housing supply in the borough, it is essential that the delivery of suitable, achievable and available sites such as this one is supported.

“Aside from the benefits of housing and affordable housing delivery, the proposed development would result in the positive use of a redundant and publicly inaccessible site.

“The land on the site has become redundant and has been subject to anti-social behaviour and vandalism, with arson forming the reason for the former building’s demolition.

“The development would firstly bring the redundant area on the site back into use for an active residential purpose, thereby addressing concerns of anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

“In addition, it is anticipated that enhancements to the adjacent Allens Rough will be provided through the scheme’s delivery of biodiversity net gain; this will have secondary benefits by enhancing use of Allens Rough as a public open space, improving the visual amenity of the space and helping to address anti-social behaviour on this area.

“Whilst it is recognised that the designation of the western part of the Site as public open space would essentially be lost through the site’s residential development, it is considered that the wider benefits as set out in this section outweigh the loss of this designation.”

Walsall Council planners are expected to make a decision on the proposal in May.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.