Plans to turn part of former Derby Telegraph offices into a school have been resurrected.
Al-Khair Foundation has lodged an application with Derby City Council to convert Northcliffe House, in Meadow Road, into an Islamic secondary school for boys.
It is the second time that the Muslim foundation, which already has a school in Croydon, has attempted to obtain permission for the change of use of the building.
In April last year, its plans to turn the building into a fee-paying nursery, primary and secondary school were rejected because of the flood risk posed by the nearby River Derwent and issues over traffic.
In coming to its decision, the city council said that the proposal “failed to satisfactorily demonstrate that a safe access and escape route could be achieved for future occupiers of the building”.
The Derby Telegraph moved out of the Meadow Road offices in 2014
However, the Al-Khair Foundation has now altered its plans and has said that the site would now just be for secondary school-aged pupils.
The foundation wants to open the non-state-funded school to help raise education standards, increase the number of places available in the city and teach pupils to respect British values.
If the latest plans are given the go-ahead, the foundation said it hoped to have the school open by September, with a maximum of 200 students on the school roll.
In planning documents submitted by DPDS Consulting, on behalf of the foundation, it said: “It would bring back into use an unattractive building in an area which has been identified as a priority for regeneration within the city.
The school would be home to a maximum of 200 pupils
“The development would bring about much-needed educational choice at secondary school level in the city, ensuring access to education for local residents close to where they live.
“A safe access to the site can be provided and the site can be developed in the manner proposed without creating any adverse impacts on the local environment.”
The application argues that, because the school would be for secondary school pupils, they would be less vulnerable if the building was impacted by potential flooding.
It said: “A flood risk assessment has been undertaken and a robust flood evacuation plan developed, which demonstrates that the residual risk to people and property from flooding would be low.
The Derby Telegraph is now based in Siddals Road
“This is based on the nature of the development proposed, which includes for use by less vulnerable people than the site currently has planning consent for, opportunities to evacuate the site in plenty of time in the event of a flood warning and an internal design which would minimise damage to the property in the event of a flood.”
If the plans are approved, around 27 jobs would be created.
The application said: “It is considered that the social and economic benefits of the proposed development far outweigh the minimal residual flood risk and in accordance with the principle of sustainable development, it is respectfully requested that the planning permission should be granted.”
The Derby Telegraph’s editorial and advertising teams moved out of the Meadow Road office in 2014 after 33 years. They are now based in Siddals Road.
For a number of years, the newspaper was also printed on the same site – but in 2012 printing ceased there. The Derby Telegraph moved into the Meadow Road site in 1981, having been previously been in the city centre.
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Source: Derby Telegraph