A PLAN to build more than 50 homes on the old Longlands School site in Stourbridge has been approved.

Dudley Council's development control committee has given planning permission to Persimmon Homes to build 52 homes on the derelict, overgrown former school and college site off Brook Street in the Old Quarter.

It was second time lucky for the developers whose initial scheme for 59 homes was refused in January this year.

The council received 40 letters of objection about the plan - expressing fears about the loss of green space and the impact on wildlife, worries about extra traffic and parking problems being exacerbated. Objectors also criticised the scheme as too dense and out of character for the area.

Labour's Cat Eccles, who had campaigned against the development on behalf of residents in the Old Quarter, said after the meeting at Dudley Council House last night (Wednesday July 17): "While it may not be the result we wanted, we have achieved something by putting pressure on Persimmon as a community to listen to our views and concerns, and make amendments to their plans.

"The reduction in density and adjustment to design of the homes is down to community action."

The site, which is owned by Birmingham Metropolitan College and which has lain empty since 2011 when Stourbridge College's art department moved to Brierley Hill, is now set to become a new housing estate comprising a mix of two, three and four-bedroom homes which will have an 'arts and crafts' style character - according to the developers.

Although objectors say the design is not 'arts and crafts' and they wanted to see the historic buildings on the site retained.

The locally-listed former school buildings are now, however, set to be demolished to make way for the new homes which will be accessed off Bowling Green Road - with the original Brook Street entrance left to provide emergency access for fire or ambulance vehicles if needed.

A total of 39 properties will go on the market, with six earmarked to be shared ownership homes and seven affordable rental properties.

Stourbridge News: An impression of how the street scene will look. Image courtesy of Persimmon HomesAn impression of how the street scene will look. Image courtesy of Persimmon Homes

A spokesman for Persimmon Homes West Midlands said: “We are delighted to have received planning permission for the Longlands site as we believe our development will truly enhance the area, which has been plagued by vandalism and branded an eyesore.

“We have always been committed to developing the site in a sensitive way and have listened carefully to local people so that we can have a positive impact on the site.

“We will bring 52 new homes to the area, where a new community can flourish which in turn will support jobs and the local economy.

"The properties will range from two-bedroom bungalows to four-bedroom detached homes.

"Twenty-five per cent of the properties will be allocated as affordable homes.

Stourbridge News:

Stourbridge News: This is how the new homes will look. Images courtesy of Persimmon HomesThis is how the new homes will look. Images courtesy of Persimmon Homes

“Through Section106 agreements and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payments we will be investing more than £450,000 into the area.

“Now that we have been successful in our application, we will be withdrawing our appeal once planning permission is formally issued.”

Stourbridge MP Margot James welcomed the decision by councillors to approve the scheme and said: "It’s a good decision. I think it’s high time that site was able to move on.

"I think it will provide much-needed high quality housing and enable everyone to move on. It’s taken so long."