Old Glossop School

Old Glossop School

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Opposition to Planning Application

Notices have just been posted advising of an application from the Derby Diocesan Board of Education to High Peak Borough Council for planning permission for a conversion of the school into four flats.

FROGS immediately issued the following press release:

Friends of Old Glossop School (FROGS) will challenge the application for planning permission to convert  the former Duke of Norfolk School in Old Glossop into four flats.
The application is in the name of  the Board of Education of Derby Diocese who are the owners of the building, with considerable input from the County Council. Now it is no longer needed as a school the purpose of the application is to enhance the market value of the building so that when it is sold the cash raised will go towards off -setting the costs of the new buildings at Royle Avenue.
The Steering Group f FROGS believes that the planning application does not take sufficient account of the heritage value of the old building. The plans do address the need to preserve the outward appearance of the building, which they would have to do in a conservation area, but they do not take into account the wider social and cultural needs of a building that has a unique place in Glossop’s history and where so many of its children have gone to school. Steph Barker, a member of FROGS and a local resident living opposite the building argues that, “As the Government is keen to stress  heritage assets are a non-renewable resource. Once this historic building is sold for housing development a unique opportunity to preserve it for enjoyment by this and future generations will be lost. I believe a conservation area must be a vibrant community making use of its historic resources to enhance the quality of local life, not  a mere decorative back-drop of historic frontages.”
FROGS are upset that the planning application claims to have taken account of other uses including proposals from FROGS. “But,” says  Fr Ian Stubbs, Chair of FROGS, although local councillors have been extremely helpful and supportive those in the Cabinet of Derbyshire County Council have  failed to respond to any request for dialogue about our proposals. I tried to open up negotiations with them last July and several times since but they have never responded to our comments about the heritage value of the building and other possible uses. They simply want to see the building sold as quickly as possible for as much as possible. In my view this is a gross disregard of heritage considerations and quite out of step with the national Government’s priorities. “
Cllr Garry Parvin, a ward councillor for Old Glossop  and member of the Steering Group is providing valuable support in meeting with planning officers and providing advice about the planning process. Cllr Parvin said ‘saving this building for the local community is essential as Old Glossop does not have any community spaces and I am working with fellow ward councillor Chris Webster to ensure that this happens’.
John Chell, a local resident and member of the Steering Group , with considerable experience of the voluntary sector, has helped FROGS to develop a constitution. “The task of FROGS,” says John, “is to help to explore the viability of a community based project , similar to that which has been achieved at St James the Less in New Mills. There are exciting and successful community projects all over the country that have attracted significant funding and have been able to retain old buildings for a variety of community use.  For the County Council to suggest that housing is the only viable option is absurd.  We are looking to work in partnership with the nationally recognised Architectural Heritage Fund to establish a sound business plan and to become a charitable trust”.
One of the suggestions for the building has been community arts and learning centre with the emphasis on participation in arts activities rather than just looking at static exhibitions.  Courses and projects could be run for senior citizens, families, children and young people and there could be good links with local schools. There is also capacity in the building to let out space, for example, for a playgroup or as rehearsal space. FROGS also believes that we are in an area with a rich social, industrial and cultural heritage offering considerable scope for exploration and learning through the arts.
In the immediate future the members of  FROGS plan to oppose the planning application for residential development and at the same time continue to build their organisation and fund raising potential. They still hope that the County Council may have a change of heart an rent the building to them for 12 months or so whilst they develop their plans. If you would like to save Old Glossop School please let us know on the web site http://frogs2011.blogspot.com/ or by telephone/text 07712 451710.

No comments:

Post a Comment