Homes plan for former school site is approved

By Jake Chown  
Thursday 11th November 2021 7:00 am

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PLANS to turn a former school building in Cinderford into several residential properties were approved by council planners despite strong opposition from local residents due to concerns over parking and anti-social behaviour.

An application to turn the former St Anthony’s Primary School building, located on the junction of Flaxley Street and Belle Vue Road, into eight self-contained flats and one house of multiple occupation (HMO) was green lit by councillors at a planning committee meeting on Tuesday, November 9.

Several local residents, along with Cinderford Town Council, had objected to the scheme due to fears that the development could worsen existing parking problems in the area.

The former St Anthony’s Primary School building was bought by an anonymous buyer for £281,500 in February this year, and plans were submitted to change the use of the property back in May.

The proposals, which were submitted to district council planners by Cheltenham agents Heffter and Heffter Ltd on behalf of the developer, include plans to create 13 new parking spaces onsite for residents of the flats and HMO.

One local resident who attended the meeting was furious with the decision, and the meeting was paused briefly following an angry outburst directed at councillors.

The resident said: "None of you live in the area. I’m 76, I’m probably going to have to move!

"Damn you lot to bloody hell!"

Speaking on behalf of local residents, Kay Heath, who lives in the area, told the meeting that the proposals showed "no concern for residents of Cinderford", and voiced residents’ concerns over both parking issues and the anti-social behaviour problems a HMO could create.

Councillor Lynn Sterry, who is also a member of Cinderford Town Council, also spoke in opposition to the proposals.

Cllr Sterry said that while she supports the provision of additional housing, she cannot see motorists from the flats using the already "oversubscribed" car park further down Belle Vue Road or those in the town centre, and described the parking and access issues the development would create as a "tremendous problem" for local residents.

Gloucestershire County Council Highways’ representatives said at the meeting that car ownership is generally lower in HMOs and that the expected level of overspill into the surrounding streets was "very low".

Cllr Richard Boyles spoke in support of the scheme, saying that when the building was a school, there were more teachers parking in the area than there are flats in the proposals.

The application was passed by 11 votes to 2.


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