The old Kerrison school in Thorndon could have a new lease of life if plans are approved to turn the site into a complex of 28 homes.
The former reformatory school, named after its founder, Sir Edward Kerrison, who established it in 1856, has recently been run by the Kerrison Trust where it had been used as a workshop, conference centre and offices.
The proposal is to turn the main building, Kelly House,into homes, along with the chapel building. There would also be an additional seven homes built on the site.
A statement in support of the application said: “The main building has been vacant for many years now and although some of the workshops have remained tenanted, the site as a whole has been largely redundant despite efforts to sub-let areas of Kelly House as offices to outside organisations.”
But Suffolk County Council’s highways department has raised serious concerns about the visibility for drivers entering and exiting the site and parking spaces which are deemed either too small or poorly positioned.
Thorndon Parish Council supports the plans but has raised issues with Mid Suffolk District Council, which will have the final say on the plans.
It said there should be a footpath so residents can get around the site without having to come out into the main road. It also said a full assessment is needed on the capacity of the local drains, and that a portion of the money given by developers to councils as part of house building should go to the school, which it said was at capacity.
The plans have been submitted by Ipswich based property investment company Witnesham Ventures Ltd. The school was renamed the Kerrison Reformatory upon the death of Sir Edward in 1886 and in 1887 the Kerrison Trust was formed. In 1973 it was a community home managed by Suffolk County Council until 1992.