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Former School To Be Transformed Into Houses And Apartments

The site of the former St Philip Howard Catholic School in Avenue Road is set to be transformed into upmarket houses and apartments. The school closed in July 2013 after a drop in the number of pupils and has been empty ever since. It was owned by the Sisters of La Sainte Union nuns, and mystery had surrounded the future of the building. But now Jenner Group managing director Martin Sandall says contracts are due to be exchanged tomorrow, and a public consultation into the future of the site could start next week, with letters being posted to neighbours. He said:

“We have been going through the legal process and these things take time. We’ve had exclusivity on the site for the last eight months. This has given us the time to look at alternatives for the site with the council, councillors and the community. We hope to submit a planning application in the very near future, perhaps by the end of April.”

The school is made up of several buildings, including classroom blocks, a school hail and playground space at the back. Mr Sandall said the Grade II-listed Georgian section of the property will be retained and improved, while the Victorian and 1930s classrooms could be demolished. He added:

“The Georgian frontage is the main reception hub and entrance, so that will become a new single family home. We will preserve the fixtures and fittings and period architectural features and have the building as it was always intended to be. We will look to strip away the rest of the school buildings. They are over-imposing on the surrounding area. These enormous buildings have got to go. Along Avenue Road we are looking at some contemporary three-storey town houses, which reduces the scale of development at the site at the moment and would be more sympathetic to the surroundings. We think this is exactly what Herne Bay needs to provide regeneration, with high-end properties which compliment the area. I think it would be a vast improvement.”

Herne Bay Gazette, March 26th 2015