Hopes raised of new sixth form centre

February 26 2018
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A LONG-held ambition to create a new sixth form for Thornbury’s Castle School could be realised after the announcement of help to unlock council-owned land for housing.

A LONG-held ambition to create a new sixth form for Thornbury’s Castle School could be realised after the announcement of help to unlock council-owned land for housing.

Dominic Raab, the housing minister, has announced a £45 million cash injection into key community projects around the UK to help kick-start the building of thousands of new homes.

South Gloucestershire has been allocated £2.1 million from that sum for a total of nine projects around the district, including £720,000 for the sixth form site in Gloucester Road.

The money will come from the Land Release Fund, with a total of 79 projects nationwide receiving funding to support the building of up to 7,280 homes on council-owned sites.

The scheme operates by using the cash to overcome barriers which would otherwise make land unusable for development.

Projects could involve the removal of asbestos, building roads or providing utilities.

The Castle School sixth form - also used by Marlwood School students - is on South Gloucestershire Council land that could be sold and used for homes if a new complex was built on the main school site in Park Road.

Proceeds from the sale would then be added to the Government funding to help pay for the sixth form centre.

But both the school development and any housebuilding would have to get planning permission.

The Land Release Fund was oversubscribed when bids were made. Each was assessed on value for money, innovation and the contribution to wider Government housing objectives.

John Goddard, South Gloucestershire’s Cabinet member for corporate resources, said: “We welcome this announcement, which earmarks significant Government funding that will strengthen projects to build much needed new homes in South Gloucestershire.

“Some of these proposals are at an early stage and all are dependent upon obtaining planning consent.

“The land involved is council-owned and the funding is intended to help release a number of sites to provide a mixture of affordable and open market housing.

“By increasing supply, we aim to reduce the pressure on the local housing market, making it easier for people to afford to rent or buy in South Gloucestershire.”

The successful bids will release land for homes by March 2020. Elsewhere in Thornbury, £30,000 has been allocated for land in Eastbury Close.

Other allocations include £100,000 for Woodlands in Tytherington and £230,000 for Station Road, Yate.

There are also two sites in Frampton Cotterell - Woodend Road (£175,000) and Lower Stone Close (£20,000).