AN HISTORIC former school building will be converted into homes under plans approved by planning chiefs this week.
Plans submitted by the Portsmouth Diocesan Education Trust for the former Oakfield Primary School, located in a Conservation Area in Great Preston Road, Ryde, were branded 'exemplary’ at a meeting of the Isle of Wight Council’s planning committee on Tuesday .
Full planning permission was granted for the conversion of the Victorian, stone-built school house into two homes while outline plans to redevelop the site, partly owned by the Isle of Wight Council, with two pairs of semi-detached homes and a detached house were also agreed.
The approval came despite concerns from neighbours about replacing single-storey buildings with two and three-storey homes.
However, the local member, Cllr Roger Whitby-Smith, said the plans had to overcome the fact the land was on a number of levels.
He said: "I am pleased to see the speed at which the diocese and the council are looking to redevelop this site. This site would rapidly go down hill within the next year or so if it was not managed properly.
"Now we have the opportunity to get it right and, to me, the conservation area and the historic building have been sympathetically developed in this proposal."
Cllr John Howe agreed: "It’s nice to see we are saving the Victorian building and making it a residential property.
"I think it’s a win-win situation."
Oakfield Primary School was relocated to the former Bishop Lovett Middle School site as part of the schools re-organisation programme.