New development plan for former Friends' School

Friends School on Mount Pleasant Road, Saffron Walden

The former Friends School on Mount Pleasant Road, Saffron Walden - Credit: ANDRA MACIUCA

Property development company Chase New Homes is set to submit a new planning application to create 88 homes on the former Friends’ School site in Saffron Walden.

They propose converting the existing main school on Mount Pleasant Road into 52 flats, repairing the building and adding a new roof, and converting and repairing the Croydon Building to provide four flats.

In the plan, outbuildings will be demolished and replaced with new one, two, three and four bed houses and apartments in a landscaped setting. And a new three-storey building will be created for 12 two-bed apartments.

Plans include upgrading the tennis courts and basketball court, and keeping as many trees along the boundary and within the site as possible.

They have sent out a newsletter to neighbouring properties.

The independent day and boarding school, which was renamed Walden School, closed in 2017. 

Several months ago, Uttlesford District Council’s Planning Committee rejected the company's outline planning application to build 100 homes on the school's former playing fields.

Chase New Homes' plan would have included affordable housing, public open space, a forest school and play areas.

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Hundreds of people complained and over 3,000 people signed an online petition, and asked that the site be used for education.

In rejecting the outline application, planning committee members expressed significant concerns, including the need for a masterplan.

Chase has said there was an extensive marketing campaign by the school’s administrators, but no buyer could be found to continue to operate the school as an educational facility. 

They said they are "considering their next steps" over the rejected application.

Alan Ward, Planning and Design Director at Chase New Homes said: “We are fully aware of the history of the school and know how important this site is to the community.

"We have previously worked on projects which included the conversion of listed buildings and are committed to protecting the local heritage whilst giving the site a new lease of life.”

Chase New Homes are asking residents to share their views through a feedback form online at or by writing to Freepost, MPC CONSULTATION (no stamp required). Alternatively call 0800 148 8911 or email