Free School Proposal

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Update 6th November 2018

A letter sent out by OSH head Paul Kilbride this week informed parents that a decision has been taken not to pursue the application for a Free School at this time.

Whilst this is good news, this same site falls under 46.6Ha of land which has been submitted to the Core Strategy’s “call for sites”. The site, which includes Grade A agricultural land, and where threatened bird species are known to exist, has been offered for the possible development of five hundred houses and two schools. This is one of seven Stourbridge sites currently enjoying Green Belt protection, but which are now facing danger from the Core Strategy Review. Further information, and actions you can take:

Threat to Stourbridge’s Green Belt countryside

List of Stourbridge sites within the Green Belt which have been offered in “call for sites”

Earlier Updates:

A Free School on Stourbridge Green Belt?

Old Swinford Hospital School (“OSH”) announced in July 2018 a proposal to build a free school in Stourbridge. The site proposed by OSH is on land alongside Norton Road, opposite the Roman Catholic graveyard. Save Stourbridge Green Belt is opposed to the proposed siting of this school on our Green Belt. The path from proposal to school is now underway, and we need to be prepared to oppose the building of this school on this site:

Key Dates in the Application process to set up a free school in “Wave 13”:

10 May 2018: Wave 13 launched
18 June 2018: Pre-application registration opened
1 Oct 2018: Pre-application registration closed
5 Nov 2018 (midday): Deadline for submitting applications to open a free school in wave 13.
Early 2019: Interviews for wave 13 applications will begin.
Spring 2019: Approved applications will be announced.

This information can be seen in full here: Free School Application Guide, particularly the page on setting up a mainstream free school.

The decision on whether to approve the free school will be made by the Secretary of State (or Regional Schools Commissioner for West Midlands on behalf of Secretary of State) and is final with no appeals process. If successful the applicant will be invited to move to a “pre-opening phase” during which the application will move from plan to a school ready for opening. This phase typically takes around 3 years. Getting to pre-opening phase does not guarantee that the school will be opened.

Opposition to siting a school on Stourbridge Green Belt

Residents attending all three of the public consultation meetings held at OSH raised very strong objections to the proposed site off Norton Road. It was clear that an overwhelming majority of those present were against the proposed site. Despite this, head Paul Kilbride was adamant that OSH was in favour of the Norton Road site above all other suggestions.

The decision regarding a suitable site for the proposed school will be taken by the Secretary of State, alongside the government-owned property company “LocateEd” and involving Dudley Council Planning Department. It is during this phase that members of the public would be able to object to the siting of the school at the Norton Road location.

What can you do?

1) During the planning consultation period members of the public will be able to submit their objections via Dudley Planning Portal. We will keep you up to date on this process, and advise on where and when to submit objections.

2) To keep informed of developments in the OSH free school application, and for campaign updates and information on how you can join the campaign: Follow us on twitter and Facebook, or sign up to our email list to get updates direct to your inbox.

3) You may also be aware that there wider threat to our Green Belt from the Black Country Core Strategy Review. Details of this can be found on our page on Threats to Stourbridge Green Belt.

About Us:

Save Stourbridge Green Belt is an independent website run by residents of Stourbridge.

Our aims are:

  • to raise public awareness of threats to Stourbridge’s Green Belt.
  • to inform local residents by providing links to publicly available material.
  • to encourage participation in public consultations, relevant petitions and in contacting those in public office, thereby supporting the democratic process.