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LIBERAL GROUP Wyre Forest District Council




Tory run County Council plans could open the door to 287 new homes on High School site...

“Plans to bring forward rebuilding of a Kidderminster High School means that there is now an urgent need to resolve outstanding planning issues” the local Kidderminster County Councillor warned today.

Cllr Mike Oborski explained today “The County Council had originally planned to carry out necessary High School rebuilding — resulting from the Wyre Forest Review of Schools — from 2011. However, as some authorities have failed to take up all of the currently available “Building Schools for the Future” funding Worcestershire has now decided to apply for some of that cash in order to pull forward the start of rebuilding to possibly as early as 2008.”

“This would be absolutely marvellous news for local High Schools and would speed up the provision of first rate facilities for local youngsters and we have absolutely no argument with that!”

“However, the possibility of the start date being brought forward does mean that all the outstanding planning issues need to be brought forward as a matter of urgency and local residents need to be kept fully informed and consulted.”

“For two years the Wyre Forest District Council has been asking for talks with Worcestershire County Council about the future use of schools sites which will become redundant as part of the Wyre Forest Review of Schools. The County has yet to agree to talks. We now need those talks as a matter of urgency.”

“In the case of Wyre Forest High Schools we are told than generally speaking any rebuilding could take place on the same sites without disruption. The exception is Kidderminster’s King Charles I High School where we are being told that rebuilding on the existing site is very unlikely to be practical.”

“It seems to be a real possibility that King Charles I High School would have to be rebuilt on a new site — most likely in the vicinity of the existing Comberton Middle and First School and Stourminster Special School complex.”

“If the existing King Charles I High School site was to become available then the most likely alternative use of the site staring us in the face would be for housing. It would be possible to get up to 287 homes onto the 5.75 hectacre site of which 30% (around 95 units) would have to be social housing. We need to know if that is what the County Council intends or if they have other plans in mind. Whatever they have in mind they should be consulting the District Council and the local community as soon as possible. We do not want any nasty last minute surprises.”

Cllr Oborski said that he understood that “of the existing King Charles I High School assets Hillgrove House is already a nationally listed building while The 1920 Building and the 216 metre sandstone wall around the site are listed locally”.

Cllr Oborski confirmed that the local councillors for the area have already:- - Asked for a review to see if The 1920s Building can be listed by English Heritage to guarantee its survival;

- Arranged for Wyre Forest District Council to survey the site in the hope of securing a blanket site Tree Preservation Order;

- Asked the District Planning Department if there are any other acceptable alternatives other than housing (for example hotel / leisure complex) for the site.

Cllr Oborski said “this is an extremely important and sensitive site and we need to know that there will be full and detailed consideration of all the acceptable alternatives and full consultation with local residents as a matter of urgency.”

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