Proposal to convert old school block into flats

wellbrae school.
wellbrae school.

PLANS to convert the former Wellbrae Primary School building into a block of 16 flats have been recommended for approval.

At a development standards committee meeting due to take place tomorrow (January 5), Eric Lowson, director of infrastructure services, will recommend that the Taylor Shepherd Homes plans are approved subject to the conclusion of an appropriate legal agreement.

In the report Mr Lowson said: “The applicant has applied for planning permission and listed building consent to convert the former school into 16 flats.

“As part of the alterations to the listed building, the applicant proposes to remove the roof of the central atrium in order to form an internal courtyard to provide light into the proposed dwellings.

“The applicant proposes to split the building horizontally in order to provide first floor level accommodation, as well as various internal alterations to form the proposed habitable accommodation.

“It is proposed to insert a number of new velux windows in the existing roof of the former school building.

“26 car parking spaces are proposed within the curtilage of the former school with access being taken from two points on Wellbraehead.”

A number of consultations have been carried out with certain bodies returning with concerns or conditions relating to the development.

The director of neighbourhood services has advised that an open space contribution of £500 per unit be provided in lieu of open space within the site.

Scottish Water and the Archaeology Unit have also recommended that surveys and assessments be carried out.

In addition, Forfar Community Council have submitted objections to the application. Mr Lowson said: “They state that subdividing the building into 16 flats would be gross overdevelopment and that there is no access to the back of the site.

“The community council also expressed concern about the location and number of bathrooms shown on the plans, the size of the rooms proposed, whether the proposed flats have soundproofing, and whether the roof lights comply with fire and safety regulations.

“These matters are generally issues relating to building regulations and would be considered through the submission of an application for building warrant approval.”

In the two letters of representation which were received by the council a number of issues were raised including overdevelopment, loss of lantern style roof on listed buildings, impact on privacy and amenity, lack of public amenity space, road safety; traffic; access and parking, no start or finishing dates and incorrect address provided on application form.

In his conclusion Mr Lowson said: “The proposed development will provide for the reuse of a listed building in a manner that is compatible with the relevant provisions of the development plan and will not have a significant adverse impact on the special interest on the listed building.

“There are no material planning considerations that would justify refusal of the application.”

Among the legal conditions are that 15 per cent of the flats should be provided as affordable housing and that a contribution of £500 per flat is made towards improving open public spaces in Forfar by the developer.