School site earmarked for housing and leisure development

Former Putnoe Lower School building is earmarked for redevelopment PNL-160102-140020001
Former Putnoe Lower School building is earmarked for redevelopment PNL-160102-140020001

Former school playing fields and buildings could be turned into new housing for the elderly under a deal being struck between Bedford Borough Council and a developer.

The Putnoe Lower School site, in Overdale, has been empty since 2011, when the school relocated and became Putnoe Primary School.

As required by law, the council had to seek consent from the government for the sale of the site for alternative uses, and this was granted for the area to be sold in March 2015.

The council is working with developer McCarthy and Stone, which is seeking planning approval to build new 33 homes for the elderly and 56 extra care units.

The scheme will generate funds for education and sport in the area, with the council retaining ownership of part of the site.

It intends to extend the grounds of Overdale Tots pre-school and Sunflower House, which offers short breaks to children with disabilities, and to create a new public open space on the majority of the former playing fields.

Mayor Dave Hodgson said: “This plan will bring life to the former Putnoe Lower School site, for important uses which I hope will have the support of the local community. The site has been empty for too long, having been subject to delay due to the requirement of seeking government approval for its sale. We are now set to see the land put to important community uses while at the same time generating funds to be reinvested in education in the Borough.”

Work is ongoing to seek to complete the sale of the land for this scheme to McCarthy and Stone, which was the highest bidder for the site.