New lease of life planned for former school

Reporter:

Lucy Wain

A former village school could see a fresh lease of life as a visitor centre or employment space.

The future of Ifton Heath Primary School in St Martins was discussed last week.

Councillor Steve Davenport said it was imperative the historic school building remained – and that any decision should be made in partnership with the local community.

He said: “Now the school has been released by the Department for Education, we can move forward.

“Shropshire Council was going to sell it but I stopped that because it would have gone to a developer, and we would have had no control over what went there.

“We need to keep the school. It could be used for offices or a visitors’ centre, while the rest of the land could be used for mixed, affordable housing and assisted living properties – the sort of homes local people need.

“But the big thing here is that whatever the future, it is decided by the local people and not Shropshire Council.”

Cllr Davenport said the application for the Stokes family to remain on the site will be extended to the end of the year while another location is being found for them.

They family, well known for working in funfairs, were moved there from the former Smithfield site in Oswestry two years ago and have been ‘caretakers’ of the school since.

Work is now progressing between the planning and estates departments at Shropshire Council, Cllr Davenport and the parish council.

He continued: “I am always asking people for ideas for the school and, whatever happens, there will be a consultation.”

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