Hundreds back petition calling for Walden School plans to be rejected
PUBLISHED: 07:36 04 September 2019 | UPDATED: 07:36 04 September 2019
More than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for sports and community facilities at the former Walden School to be protected.
The petition, launched by H P Blessings, says an application by Chase New Homes for 100 properties on the school site, located in Mount Pleasant Road, goes against Uttlesford District Council (UDC) planning policy.
The petition says the open spaces, sports hall, and swimming pool at the site should be protected for community use and added that the plan in its current form should be rejected.
The petition has been signed by more than 1,300 people so far.
It reads: "Please note our objections to planning proposals. It breaks both local and national planning policies, which specifically protect open space, sports fields and facilities and community facilities
Please help ensure that the former Friends School, its historic buildings and mature trees on site are protected. Please help ensure that the exterior and interior of the historic buildings, including swimming pool, are saved from the threat of potential demolition, and that any renovations are sensitively undertaken in tune with the existing architecture."
The school site was purchased by developers in April 2018 for more than £7million after the private school closed in 2017.
Chase New Homes, the developer, lodged its application with UDC to build 100 homes, as well as an artificial grass pitch, a multi-use games area, and play areas in July. The swimming pool will also be refurbished.
Speaking last month, Saffron Walden town councillor, Paul Gadd said: "Development of new homes on the site of the former school is against both national and local planning policy and therefore should be rejected."
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.
View the petition here: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/please-keep-the-former-friend-s-school-saffron-walden-for-full-community-use?just_launched=true&fbclid=IwAR19dW6J19Xhh8FDNqdjue_z8wX2JXoG6J0oI85sxT9oxhNOW0zptfq9Do8.