A travelling family are set to be allowed to remain living at a former primary school site 

for a further nine months – while plans to build homes on the site are drawn up.

The Stokes family have been living at the former Ifton Heath Primary School site near St Martins for a number of years, with Shropshire Council’s blessing.

The authority is planning to build more than 30 homes on the site, plans which are being drawn up by its new housing company, Coronovii Developments.

But the family – who the council have promised to re-home – are set to be given a nine month extension to live at the site.

This comes despite the fact that bosses at the council said they hoped to have diggers on the land by March.

A planning application will go to the authority’s Northern Planning Committee next Tuesday asking for the extension.

Mark Perry, case officer, says in his report to the committee: “This current application now seeks consent to extend the time period again for a further nine months.

“The application site is no longer used and has been out of use since the closure of the school. 

“The caravans and associated vehicles have been sited on the hard standing since 2015. 

“The principle of the use has been accepted by the granting of the original 12 month consent and the subsequent extensions to further increase the time period. 

“The key issue is therefore whether a further nine month occupation would be unacceptable. 

“The status of the Stokes family as travelling show people was also accepted as part of the previous consents. 

“The original permission was specific to Mr Stokes and his family which consists of his wife, brother and two sons and their families. 

“It is considered that there is an identified need for the site for Mr Stokes and his family and that no further evidence is required of need.

“Furthermore, no questions have been raised about the status of Mr Stokes and his family as travelling show people who prior to moving to their current site had been living on the land adjacent to the Smithfield Livestock Market in Oswestry for a number of years but had to relocate due to approval being granted for the redevelopment of the site.”

He added: “Members may have concerns that the previously granted consents were meant to allow the council time to pursue an alternative site for permanent occupation.

“Alternatives are being considered by the council with a view to finding the Stokes family a permanent site, however further time is required.

“Members should be reassured that alternatives are still being sought and there is no intention for there to become permanent occupancy of the Ifton Heath school site. 

“In addition to the above the former Ifton Heath Primary School is one of two sites that the council will transfer to Cornovii Developments Ltd which is the recently created housing development company wholly owned by the council, with the view to developing the site to address unmet housing need.

“The site is one of the preferred allocations identified as part of the Local Plan Review process with an approximate capacity of 35 dwellings.”