Developer in bid for 100 new homes on site of former private school

PUBLISHED: 12:42 07 August 2019

Chase New Homes  produced a mixture of designs for houses on the Walden School site in a presentation made in October 2018. Picture: CHASE NEW HOMES

Chase New Homes produced a mixture of designs for houses on the Walden School site in a presentation made in October 2018. Picture: CHASE NEW HOMES


Residents are being urged to have their say on plans which would see 100 homes built on the former Walden School site, as Saffron Walden Town Council maintains the application still goes against national and local planning policy.

The former Walden School. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTOThe former Walden School. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO

The site, in Mount Pleasant Road, Saffron Walden, was purchased by developers in April 2018 for more than £7million after the private school closed in 2017.

Chase New Homes, the developer, has now lodged a planning application with Uttlesford District Council (UDC) to build 100 homes, as well as an artificial grass pitch, a multi-use games area, and play areas. The swimming pool will also be refurbished.

Saffron Walden town councillor, Paul Gadd said: "In November last year, in response to widespread public concerns, the town council made its position clear in writing in relation to Chase New Homes' proposal to build on the former [Walden] School. "Development of new homes on the site of the former school is against both national and local planning policy and therefore should be rejected. All of the playing fields and other open spaces, as well as the sports hall and swimming pool, are specifically protected unless replacement facilities are provided that are at least as good in terms of location, quality and quantity.

"The application does not comply with these requirements, so the town council's position has not changed. Saffron Walden has a desperate shortage of both sports facilities and other public open space, and it is important therefore that these are protected."

A planning statement prepared in support of the application, by Savills said: "It is crucial to find a suitable use for the site that brings some sports benefits to the community."

The refurbished swimming pool would be made available to the general public to use during the day, but not at evenings and weekends, the planning statement said. A community use agreement for the artificial grass pitch could be included in the contributions from the developer (known as a Section 106 agreement). A proposed sports pavilion which would serve the pitch could be made available for clubs and sports groups, the planning statement said.

A design and access statement says 30 of the homes will be affordable, split into 12 two bed apartments and 18 three bed houses.

Details for remaining homes will be bought forward once permission for them has been agreed in principle.

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