163 Homes to be Built on Old School Site
The former St Peters School is to be redeveloped as residential land in the latest in a series of major Chelmsford developments
The economy might have been struggling over the past ten years, but that seems to be a memo that has not been received in Chelmsford. The country’s newest city continues to go from strength to strength, and the latest major investment will take place on the site of a failed school near Melbourne Park.
For those planning a move to Essex’s main social, residential and commercial hub, now is the perfect time to sit down with a mortgage broker in Chelmsford, as this is just one of several exciting new developments in and around the city.
Rising from the ashes
Today, if you take a drive down Fox Crescent, you will be greeted by a sad sight. Despite being less than a mile from the City Centre, St Peters School looks like something that time forgot, having stood vacant since it closed its doors on staff and pupils for the last time in 2011.
The buildings are in a state of disrepair, the playing fields are overgrown and the whole plot, which covers around 20 acres in total, has become a magnet for fly tipping, vandalism and other varieties of antisocial behaviour. It is a rare blot on the landscape in a city that has done so much to reinvent itself over the past decade, and local residents will be delighted to know that something is, at last, going to be done.
Essex County Council has agreed to plough more than £2.5 million into the redevelopment. But that is likely to be only the beginning. 17 acres of the site is expected to be dedicated to residential properties, and the County and City Councils are already working on more detailed proposals. A key part will be to ensure that a suitable proportion of the new builds are in the affordable housing category, to help Chelmsford meet the 35 percent target laid down by the government, something the city has failed to do in recent years.
However, there will be more to the development than just housing. Two acres will be set aside for social services, and while the exact usage to which these will be put is yet to be agreed, it seems likely that sheltered housing for the elderly and adult special needs facilities will be high on the agenda. There is also a separate area that has been earmarked for additional special needs facilities.
What happens next?
Essex County Council and Chelmsford City Council still have plenty of planning work ahead of them before we get to the construction stage, particularly on the topics of affordable housing and social care facilities. Once the formal proposals have been drawn up, a planning application will be submitted, and this will probably happen around the middle of next year.
Redevelopment is sometimes tinged with sadness, particularly when it involves the demolition of something that contains as many memories as a school. However, in this case, few will argue that the transformation of this derelict and dangerous site will be anything other than a boon for Chelmsford and its residents.