Castle School Sixth Form Centre site will used for housing

December 10 2020
Castle School Sixth Form Centre site will used for housing

THE Castle School sixth-form centre site will be used for new housing after students are moved to a new building, South Gloucestershire Council has confirmed.

The former Thornbury Grammar School in Gloucester Road is one of six council-owned land holdings earmarked for new housing.

The potential pipeline of sites, selected from more than 100 parcels of council land, were revealed at a cabinet meeting last week.

The council is also looking to set up a housing delivery partnership with a neighbouring local authority, it emerged.

The possible partnership with Bath & North East Somerset Council via its housing company, Aequus Developments Ltd, is part of a new joint venture approach to housing delivery that the council is pursuing.

Instead of setting up its own housing company, the council aims to work with like-minded developers, such as B&NES and housing associations, to provide “higher than market standard” housing, where at least a third of the homes are affordable.

One of the first sites in the potential development pipeline to come forward will be at Malmains Drive in Frenchay, which had been earmarked for a new, expanded Frenchay Primary School. But it is no longer needed as a new site has been selected in the former Frenchay Hospital grounds.

Mulgrove Farm in Harry Stoke is likely to be next out of the starting blocks.

Other sites named in a new cabinet paper include: Vinney Green in Emersons Green, Charborough Road in Filton and the former Grange School in Warmley.

As reported by the Voice in October, Castle School Sixth Form is set to relocate to the Castle School’s main site on Park Road as part of a £16.7 million revamp of both Castle and Marlwood schools.

There are no more details about any of the sites in the cabinet paper from December 1, but Aequus Developments has submitted a planning proposal for 30 homes on land east of Malmains Drive.

Cabinet member for corporate resources Ben Burton used the proposed development to illustrate why he believes the joint venture approach to housing is the “right way to proceed”.

Thirty-five per cent of those properties [at Malmains Drive] are going to be affordable housing,” he said.

Air handling units for heating have been proposed, and EV charging points have also been included in those plans.”

Cllr Burton, who represents Frenchay and Downend, said a joint venture approach “at the very least” would allow the council to provide developments with 35 per cent affordable housing, as per its housing policy.

Secondly, I think there’s actually an opportunity for the council as a whole to actually deliver better quality housing, the type of housing our residents want to live in,” he said.

It will also give the council the chance to share in the profits of development, which could be used to provide more housing, he said.

Cabinet members gave their approval for council officers to progress work on a joint venture with B&NES Council via Aequus, explore joint venture partnerships with other developers, and develop business cases for the proposed development sites.

If for any reason the draft business case is not viable then any one of these sites can at that stage be removed from the pipeline,” the paper says.

Chris Thomas, property investment manager for the council’s property services, said replacement sites would be found if any were removed from the pipeline.

Council leader Toby Savage said the council plans to acquire more land not just pursue developments on land it already owns.

By Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporting Service