Stonyhurst College plans 30 new homes for Hurst Green

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STONYHURST College has submitted plans to build 30 new homes in Hurst Green.

Planners at Ribble Valley Borough Council have received an application for the new homes on land to the north of Whalley Road, Hurst Green, between Warren Fold and School Lane comprising part field and school car park.

In a letter to planners, chairman of governors at Stonyhurst John Cowdall said: “Since September 2009, Stonyhurst, while remaining a school in the Jesuit tradition, has operated as a registered charity with complete responsibility for the maintenance of the buildings and the grounds including the historic park.

“This means that since 2009, Stonyhurst took ownership of all the land and buildings that form the estate by means of an asset transfer negotiated with the Jesuits. With that ownership comes the responsibility for the future maintenance of all the buildings.”

Mr Cowdall added: “Independent schools throughout the country are facing significant challenges in maintaining their pupil numbers and conserving and upgrading both the facilities of their schools and buildings in which the pupils and staff live and work. Stonyhurst is no exception to this, indeed because the need to maintain and protect the architectural and historically important are much higher than they would be if the schools operated from modern – and probably undistinguished – buildings.

“We are, therefore, constantly seeking, as a requirement of being a charity, to maximise our assets. Any trading surpluses we have go back into the two schools either in enhancing education facilities or maintaining, repairing and renewing the fabric of the buildings themselves.”

The college held an information day about the proposal in the village and has leafleted all residents. Responses to that consultation resulted in the scheme being downsized from 40 units to 30, a small number of bungalows suitable for retired people being included as well as a number of social housing units.

“We are also mindful of working with and helping to facilitate the needs of the Catholic primary school in the village,” Mr Cowdall explained.

Therefore, in addition to the new homes, the plans are also for the creation of a new access onto Whalley Road, a new estate road, landscaping, servicing, a replacement school car park, pick-up and drop-off provision, and a public open space, along with the demolition of an existing agricultural building.