New plans for site of closed-down school
COMMUNITY open space could be part of a plan to redevelop the former Bownham Park Special School.
Residents' groups and the local Rodborough Parish Council are being consulted about ideas for the future of the site by its owners, Gloucestershire County Council.
People had learned the old school and its playing fields might remain half open space while the rest was sold for new homes, nearby householder Graham Hopkins said.
Bownham Park was closed in the summer of 2003 by the county council in its role as local education authority.
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There had been a hard fought three-year battle by pupils' families to save it.
But the county pressed ahead with its policy of including in alternative mainstream schools the Bownham Park children who had special educational needs. Mr Hopkins, chairman of the Bownham Park Rodborough Residents' Association, said the new proposals seemed "quite acceptable" to his members.
"The only development would be where the existing school is ... it looks quite good. There is nothing really untoward," he said.
"One possibility is to construct 10 or 11 new houses of similar size to those at Bownham Park and Bownham Mead."
Another suggestion was for four relatively luxurious homes, Mr Hopkins said.
A meeting had been held with Mr Hopkins' association, the county, Rodborough Parish Council, and representatives of adjoining Bownham Mead and Shepherd's Well developments.
There was even talk of possibly a storage area for equipment for the remaining playing space, and perhaps toilets.
Rodborough Parish Council was being asked to take over the playing fields, Mr Hopkins said. A spokeswoman for Rodborough Parish Council said members were interested in principle but negotiations were continuing.
Head of corporate property services at the county Neil Corbett said: "We are in positive discussions with residents' associations and the parish council about redeveloping part of the Bownham Park site.
"We anticipate this could include a small number of houses and community open space. A planning application will be submitted in due course," Mr Corbett said.
A formal consultation would follow when the planning application was submitted he said.
The nearby Amberley Ridge Special School was also more recently shut by the county.
Potential options for that site, in Minchinhampton parish, were still under consideration, said Mr Corbett.