Homes plan for ex-school

The site of the former Henry Smiths school
The site of the former Henry Smiths school

A FORMER school site looks set to be transformed into a new housing estate.

Hartlepool Borough Council is proposing to sell the former Henry Smith School site, in the town’s King Oswy Drive, for a new 135-house estate to be built, which would include 45 affordable homes.

The school was demolished in late 2005 and the council-owned 9.25 acre site has been empty ever since.

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The council’s cabinet committee met yesterday and gave its backing for officers to market the site.

Senior councillors heard the sale would help the council achieve its £4.5m target of selling council-owned land over the next three years.

Mayor Stuart Drummond said it was about getting the “very best” out of the site.

Dave Stubbs, director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, confirmed the majority of the 45 affordable homes would be much-needed bungalows.

There has already been interest from a range of regional and national house builders willing to build a mix of affordable housing and houses for sale.

The Homes and Communities Agency has allocated funding for up to 45 affordable houses on the site to Housing Hartlepool, but the confidential financial details are yet to be released.

It could be that either the developer builds the houses as part of the overall scheme and sells them to Housing Hartlepool or part of the site is sold to Housing Hartlepool and they develop the affordable element.

Independent Seaton councillor Cath Hill added: “From what the director has said it looks like there will be plenty of bungalows on there which is fantastic.

“We need to be careful though as we also need family homes.

“As long as there is a bit of both I can support the recommendations.”

Independent Elwick councillor Hilary Thompson said: “I would certainly support the marketing of the site.

“This is a brown field site and it has to be the first option for development.

“We also have to encourage the market.”

John Maxwell, a resident representative, who lives near the site called for local residents to be consulted on the plans.

Mayor Drummond confirmed that residents would be kept informed of the proposals.

There is a small part of the former Henry Smith site currently used as a car park for parents who drop their children off at St Hild’s School, which is over the road.

Mayor Drummond said: “Part of the site is being used for a car park and that is making a huge difference.

“We have to be mindful that it could be lost and we may need an alternative solution.”

A development brief has been prepared and the cabinet authorised officers to start the marketing of the site.

It was the first time the cabinet had met since Mayor Drummond axed six Labour members after they failed to back the cabinet’s proposals for the 2012-13 budget.

The three-strong cabinet is now made up of Mayor Drummond and Coun Hill and Coun Thompson.

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