PLANS to build new homes on the former Longlands School site in Stourbridge are due to go before council planners next week.

A proposal to demolish the old school buildings in Brook Street – including the locally listed parts of the site – and build 59 new homes has been recommended for approval and will go before Dudley’s development control committee next Tuesday (January 8).

A report to the planning committee says the development would comprise a mix of one, two, three and four bedroom homes and access to the site would be off Bowling Green Road, with just pedestrian access into the old school driveway in Brook Street.

The report says the number of new homes proposed has been reduced from 62 to 59 to reduce the impact on neighbours and the proposed retained trees as well as providing necessary room for parking and turning; and it adds that the site has been extended to include an underdeveloped area of land to “provide nature conservation mitigation”.

But residents living near the site in the Old Quarter are up in arms about the plans which have been met with 184 objections.

Those living close to the former school and college site, which was mothballed by Birmingham Metropolitan College back in 2011, say developers Permission Homes want to cram too many properties onto the site which they fear would worsen traffic and parking problems in the area.

Wollaston and Stourbridge Town councillor Nic Barlow is among the objectors and in a letter to planners he has slammed the proposed homes as “poorly designed” and branded the plan “overdevelopment of the site”.

Concerns have also been raised about the loss of the part of the site that was designated for sports, which backs into Albert Street, the impact on wildlife that have made the overgrown site a home and the loss of historic Edwardian buildings which are locally listed.

The report to committee, however, states Historic England has taken the view that the buildings were not worthy of statutory designation and have issued a Certificate of Immunity from Listing which prevents them from being listed for five successive years and prevents the council from serving a Building Preservation Notice for five successive years.

It also says the playing fields within the site have been abandoned and overtaken by badgers and adds: “As such, Sport England, due to passage of time are not a statutory consultee in respect of this application. Therefore the development of the abandoned playing field from a planning policy perspective is considered to be acceptable.”

The report adds that for the development to go ahead badgers that inhabit the site would need to be relocated and existing setts closed.

A licence from Natural England would be required and the badgers would be relocated onto the disused land on the eastern part of the site where an artificial sett would be built and the report states: “If the badgers were not to be relocated, very little of any of the site would be developable due to standard no build offset of 20m. 97.”

Planners, however, conclude in the report that the “proposed development is acceptable in principle” as the site is allocated for housing within the Dudley Borough Development Strategy (2017) and they have recommended approval.

They go on to say the proposed housing scheme provides sufficient parking as well as allowing safe access into the site and that the design and layout of the proposed development is considered acceptable and provides mitigation for protected species on the site.

Dudley’s development control committee will vote on whether to go ahead and approve the plan at their meeting on Tuesday January 8.

The meeting will start at 6pm in committee room 2 at Dudley Council House, Priory Road, Dudley.