Bid to develop school as homes

PUBLISHED: 15:30 26 March 2009 | UPDATED: 21:44 31 May 2010

Bell Language School.

Bell Language School.

A DEVELOPER is pushing ahead with its plans to turn a former Saffron Walden school into more than 50 dwellings and a 60-bed care home. A planning application to develop the site of the Bell Language School on South Road is expected to be submitted by

A DEVELOPER is pushing ahead with its plans to turn a former Saffron Walden school into more than 50 dwellings and a 60-bed care home.

A planning application to develop the site of the Bell Language School on South Road is expected to be submitted by scheme promoters Ashwell Property Group in the near future.

Planning director Simon Butler-Finbow said: "We have been out to the community four or five times and received some positive feedback. We have listened to what people have said and we are now in the process of putting our application together.

"We have had regular dialog with the schools, companies and residents and the planning has got better for it."

The old Bell School building has been empty for more than a year and, according to neighbours, is beginning to look derelict. Many people who live on South Road were pleased that the building was being developed, but expressed concern over the possible increase in traffic.

Neighbour Mrs Goddard said: "I have attended all of Ashwell's exhibitions and although the plans look reasonable I'm very concerned about the increase in traffic.

"I think they have seriously underestimated how many vehicles will use the care home which will have to accommodate staff, visitors and deliveries.

"With two schools on this road it is already very busy and at certain times of the day it is gridlocked - the development is likely to cause more queues."

The plans consist of 25 affordable houses, 24 private apartments and 13 town houses. The development will also include the re-homing of the Bell Nursery.

The main buildings on the 1.4 hectare site will be retained and converted with minimal alterations to the exterior. The grounds will be landscaped and the footpath along Peaslands Road will be widened.

Jenny Rivers, co-manager at the Bell Nursery which has been on the site for 20 years, said: "The development will be a wonderful opportunity for us because we will move to a new purpose-built facility."

WHAT to you think of the plans to develop the Bell School site? Let us know by emailing alistair.nelson@archant.co.uk


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