Group will fight new school plans

Campaigners are preparing to fight new plans to develop a school site.

Derbyshire County Council has submitted a planning application to build 15 affordable homes and seven private properties on the site of Darley Dale Primary School.

Plans will include converting the historic school building, designed by pioneering architect George Widdows, in to apartments and three new class-rooms at the junior school.

In 2009 the council’s plans for the site were thrown out after the school building, which was set to be demolished, was granted Grade-II listed status by English Heritage.

Andrew Bullock, of Greenaway Lane Residents Association, said they were concerned about the lack of consultation, traffic congestion and had fears for Greenaway Workshop and the Mencap Centre, which will be ‘at the centre’ of the scheme.

He added: “We are in exactly the same position as before, the council has not consulted residents.

“Over all we are really concerned about the loss of a green field site and the urbanisation of a very small community.

“The proposal to build 22 dwellings is going to double the population and it is in an entirely unsuitable location. There are no shops nearby, the bus service is not regular and it will cause traffic issues.”

In February 2009 several Greenaway Lane resident’s submitted an application to register the greenfield site, set to be developed, as a village green. The application is waiting to be decided by the county council but has been given ‘priority status’ in light of the council’s proposals.

Jackie Tunnicliffe, honorary secretary of the Mencap Centre, said she had reservations about the scheme.

She added: “I’m pleased they are not knocking the school down. We have been assured the development won’t affect us at all but I’m waiting to see something in writing as it does raise concerns.”

A spokeswoman for the county council said: “We are hoping our proposals will be successful so we can provide children with a single site school which is suitable for the modern curriculum.

“We are keen to give pupils the best possible learning environment and believe our plan will help us do this.

“Currently the infants are accommodated on a separate site in a building dating back to 1913 which is becoming increasing difficult to maintain.

“We have worked hard to produce a proposal that meets the needs of the school while securing the future of the listed building.”

She said that if the village green application was successful the council would have to reconsider its plans.