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Back to the drawing board for Wolverhampton Grammar over infants school plan

By Pete Madeley | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

A city school has ditched its appeal over controversial multi-million pound plans to build a new infants school.

An artist's impression of the grammar school's previous proposals

Bosses at Wolverhampton Grammar School, on Compton Road, want to build a two-storey school for 264 four to eight-year-olds off Gamesfield Green.

The scheme was thrown out by the city council in March last year, citing concerns over road safety for pupils, parents and residents, as well as congestion and environmental issues.

The school subsequently lodged an appeal with The Planning Inspectorate and an inquiry had been planned for later this year.

However, a statement from the inspectorate issued last week said: “The appeal has been withdrawn and the inquiry arranged for May 9, 2018, has now been cancelled.

School spokeswoman Carrie Bennett said the appeal had been withdrawn while changes were made to the original plans.

She said: “Wolverhampton Grammar School has made the decision to withdraw from the appeal to allow us to make some adjustments to our original plans for an infant school.

“We will be working with the council’s planning officers and traffic consultants in order to submit a revised planning application in due course.”

The school’s proposals have prompted a furious response from residents since they were first unveiled in early 2016.

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Park ward councillor Craig Collingswood has urged the school to ‘listen to local people’ and scrap the plans completely.

“This has been dragging on for some time now and I can’t recall having so many people contact me about an issue on the same scale before.

“The strength of opposition to the plans is quite incredible.

"The new school will not only affect residents, it will also add to journey times for commuters heading in and out of the city centre.

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“The extra burden on traffic will cause more congestion and parking problems.

"It was a victory for local democracy that the school has withdrawn its appeal over this largely unwanted project.

"It will be interesting to see now whether they listen to local people, or go against their wishes by revisiting the scheme in the future."

Highways bosses insisted on road improvements as part of the original plans, because the development would increase traffic at the junction between Merridale Road, Gamesfield Green and Aspen Way, especially at peak times.

The school offered to pay £200,000 towards the cost.

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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