Affordable housing allocation agreed for new estate in Wolverhampton

Wolverhampton housing bosses will purchase a quarter of new homes being built at a former school site in the city, to be used exclusively for affordable living.

An artist's impression of how the proposed homes on the former Northicote School in Bushbury Wolverhampton could look. Photo: Accord Housing design and access
An artist's impression of how the proposed homes on the former Northicote School in Bushbury Wolverhampton could look. Photo: Accord Housing design and access

WV Living, a subsidiary of the council set up in 2016 to provide a range of new housing across the city, is in the process of developing the former Northicote School site in Bushbury with 178 homes, due to be completed in 2024.

The school, in Northwood Park Road, closed in 2014 and the premises was finally demolished in 2018.

Once completed, the new estate will  consist of a mixture of two-, three- and four-bedroomed homes – with the council set to purchase 29 homes for affordable rent and 16 homes for shared ownership.

In a report to cabinet, Karen Beasley, the council’s  interim service manager for housing strategy and policy, said: “These 45 properties will be allocated through Homes in the City’s choice-based lettings system.

“Marketing of the shared ownership units will be managed by the council’s sales and marketing agent, once they are appointed.

“The council will enter into a contract using a standard form of development agreement with WV Living, including staged payments.”

Planning permission for the development was granted in October last year, including the provision for affordable housing.

However, earlier proposals for the development had drawn criticism from people concerned about the impact the new estate would have on existing roads and facilities.

Views in favour of the proposal included support for new housing needed in the area – particularly affordable property – locational advantages given the adjacent park, together with the jobs and skills that would be encouraged by the work.

An artist's impression of how the proposed homes on the former Northicote School in Bushbury Wolverhampton could look. Photo: Accord Housing design and access

The greatest area of concern raised was around infrastructure and increased traffic. Other issues were a lack of, or additional pressure on GPs and schools, road layout, parking and loss of trees.

Each property will be built off-site at Accord Housing’s timber frame factory, LoCal Homes in Walsall, with a view to making them more environmentally friendly.

The new estate will incorporate a series of pathways as well as significant landscaping to enhance the adjacent park and green spaces.

Northicote was the first school in Britain to be condemned as ‘failing’ by Ofsted shortly after the organisation’s creation in 1992, but within five years it had been transformed into a “successful and over-subscribed school” under the leadership of head teacher Geoff Hampton.

Following the turnaround, Mr Hampton received a knighthood for services to education, before departing to take up a professor’s role at the University of Wolverhampton.

The school was built to serve both secondary modern and grammar streams in the expanding Bushbury area during the 1950s, before converting to a comprehensive school in the 1970s.

By 2011 it had merged with Pendeford Business and Enterprise College to become the North East Wolverhampton Academy before closing down.

Purchase of the affordable living homes is set to be agreed by the council’s cabinet next Wednesday.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News