Homes plan for school going well

REASSURANCES have been given about the progress of plans to build houses on a the site of a former school.

As reported by the Hartlepool Mail last month, Hartlepool Borough Council is proposing to sell the former Henry Smith School site, in King Oswy Drive, to make way for a new 135-house estate.

An update on the progress of the plans was given during a recent meeting of the authority’s scrutiny co-ordinating committee.

Dave Stubbs, the council’s director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, said “soft testing” was being done to see which developers would be interested in taking on the project, although the land had not yet been sold.

“We have asked developers to come forward with their proposals rather than have different development briefs,” he added.

He said proposals would then be brought back to councillors and the relevant portfolio holders and key decisions would be made following consultations.

“On some of the designs put to us I think it’s a fairly exciting prospect,” he added.

Committee members raised concerns about access to the site from a “very busy road which has buses coming down it each way every 10 minutes, and two schools”.

Mr Stubbs said this would be looked at in detail and he acknowledged a need for full and comprehensive consultation with the community on the plans.

He added: “These are professional engineers – they will have the same concerns and what they do come up with will be solutions to these concerns.

“Consultation through planning is a fairly rigid regime.  “We will consult with not only everybody in the vicinity but via councillors and everybody in the near area.”

The development on the 9.25-acre site, which has been empty since the school was demolished in 2005, would include 45 affordable homes.

The sale of the land would help the council achieve its £4.5m target of selling council-owned land over the next three years, as previously reported.