WORK to demolish a disused Stourbridge school to make way for more than 50 homes is expected to start at the end of the year.

Persimmon Homes has cleared the final hurdle in the planning process for the company’s proposed 52-house development on the site of the old Longlands School in Bowling Green Road.

Bosses said they are hopeful the first new residents will be move into their new homes in autumn next year, if their plans remain on track.

Dudley Council planners had given permission for the scheme in July subject to a Section 106 agreement being signed which secured affordable housing, education monies and highway infrastructure improvements.

This has now been signed and the permission was formally granted earlier this week.

Persimmon said 25 per cent of the houses will be ‘affordable’ while the overall development would provide a boost to the area.

The existing buildings have been vandalised since the school was closed in 2011 after Stourbridge College moved its art and design courses to a new campus in Brierley Hill.

The developer had originally submitted a plan for 59 homes to be built on the site but this attracted 140 objections and the council’s development control committee refused the application in January, despite officers recommending approval.

This revised scheme still attracted 40 objections with neighbours worried about increased traffic and impact on wildlife on adjacent fields but planners said the scheme was acceptable and added there was need for housing such as this in the area.

Stephen Cleveley, director-in-charge of Persimmon Homes West Midlands, said: “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.

“Our current estimate is that demolition should commence towards the end of this year, with building work on the housing due to begin in Spring 2020.

“We envisage that our first occupants will arrive in the Autumn next year. However, this is all dependent on the ecological timetable running to schedule.”