Plans for 110 new homes back on the table as school land sold in Gorleston

The former Claydon school site has been sold to a mystery developer, 13 years after the buildiings

The former Claydon school site has been sold to a mystery developer, 13 years after the buildiings were cleared. The area already has planning permission for 110 homes and nearby residents will be keen to see the detailed plans as they are brought forward. - Credit: Archant

The sale of a large slice of land in Gorleston is set to re-trigger controversy as a plan for 110 homes is revived.

Outline planning permission has already been granted for the development on the former Claydon High School and playing field site which was being advertised by NPS, the county council's property company, for £2m.

Bernard Williamson, whose borough council ward includes the 12.6 acre swathe, said he welcomed the sale of the land which had been an eyesore site for many years.

But neighbours, he added, would be keeping a close eye on what happens next with the developer - Lowestoft-based Badger Building - needing to bring forward detailed plans.

He said: 'NPS were going to develop it but decided the cost was too high so they put it up for sale.

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'They wanted to build three-storey houses but because a lot of the houses were lower or bungalows we restricted the height. It was quite a contentious matter at the time and there have been difficulties along nearby Burgh Road with drainage.

'Some of the problems have been ironed out and it is now a matter of detailed permission, all the residents will be waiting for that. But overall we welcome the housing especially two-bedroom houses and affordable homes.

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'It is a good site and I am really pleased to see the green space and only 110 homes being built. I would have preferred to see it as an open park but the county would never have allowed that in the financial climate.'

The homes' plan was given the green light over three years ago despite 370 objections from neighbours and accusations the scheme was a 'cash-cow' for applicants Norfolk County Council.

Objectors also argued that the development would cause problems with transport and services in the area. At the time councillors pushed for a condition which means a maximum of two-storey developments.

Claydon High School closed in 1990 and its buildings were eventually pulled down in 2001.

Council leader Trevor Wainwright said the site - the size of five football pitches - had been heavily marketed for some time. 'The site is in a good position and it is an area that needs developing. It is just sitting there as a bit of scrubland.

'Capacity in the primary schools and high schools in that part of the borough is ok. There is always a drain on medical services but that would have been addressed as part of the original application.'

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: 'The site of the Old Claydon High School, a Gorleston landmark which closed in 1990, is in the process of being sold by NPS. This deal will allow for the building of up to 110 houses, for which outline planning permission has been granted, in an area currently in need of new residences.

'Further community benefits will come in the shape of a number of affordably-priced homes, being built as part of this deal.'

A spokesman for Badger Building said it was likely that the scheme would include a range of two, three and four bedroomed houses and flats for both sale and rent, adding: 'We are pleased that we once again have a development site in the Gorleston/Bradwell area. This site has been on our radar for some time and we look forward to working with the planning department to prepare a scheme which provides a range of properties.'

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