Housing on former school site before councillors for decision

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Plans to replace a former school in a small north Northumberland village with 30 new homes are recommended for approval this week.

The scheme for the former county first school site in Milfield, north of Wooler on the A697, goes before the North Northumberland Local Area Council for a decision on Thursday.

The school has not been in use since 2009 and the ‘closed and overgrown’ site, off Wheatriggs, features a school building to the west with the former playing fields to the east.

The site is surrounded by housing to the east and south with open countryside to the west and north.

The application seeks to demolish the school buildings and create nine two-bedroom, semi-detached properties, 18 three-bedroom homes (nine of which would be detached), and three four-bedroom detached houses.

Milfield Parish Council has no issue with the site being redeveloped, but opposes this application on a number of grounds. There have been seven objections from residents as well.

There has also been an objection from Sport England, due to the loss of the playing fields, but planning officers consider it is not reasonable to withhold planning permission on these grounds as the fields have not been in use since the school closed and the likelihood is that they would remain redundant.

No affordable homes would be provided as it is claimed the scheme would not be viable, but, if approved, a section 106 legal agreement would secure the first sale values of the homes.

These would be £97,000 for the two-bedroom units, £111,000 and £119,000 for the two types of three-bedroom homes, £127,000 and £134,000 for the detached three-bedroom properties and £165,000 for the four-bedroom houses.

The applicant would also have to provide contributions of £52,800 for education, due to Wooler First School being at near capacity, and £17,400 for health.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service