Planning application submitted for 90 homes on Swanage Grammar site

Residents can now view and comment on the plans for housing on the site of the old grammar school in Northbrook Road in Swanage, following a formal submission by the developers to Dorset Council.

The documents that can be viewed online on the Dorset Council planning website show the proposed layout of the 90 new homes – a mixture of flats and houses including some four bedroom properties.


The developer is Barratt David Wilson Homes, who is also building the housing estate, Compass Point on the opposite side of Northbrook Road.

Architect plan of Old Grammar school housing
IDP Partnership

A plan of the grammar school housing development. It is situated between Days Park and St Mary’s Catholic Primary School. It backs onto the Swanage Cricket Ground

Third of the homes will be social housing

It’s proposed that a third of the homes will be social housing with some available to rent and others available to buy on a shared ownership basis. It’s likely that they will be managed by the social housing provider, Aster who has been responsible for the social housing provision at Compass Point.

The site has already been granted outline planning permission in two separate applications but this new proposal is for the whole site from Days Park to St Mary’s Catholic Primary School.

The changes to the layout and the wish by the developer to build houses with a similar appearance to Compass Point, necessitate a new full planning application.

Architect drawings of Old Grammar school social housing
IDP Partnership

A third of the homes will be social housing – those marked in red will be available to rent and those in blue will be able to be bought via shared ownership

St Mary’s School has already raised questions

Public responses to the plans can be submitted via the Dorset Council website.

The headteacher of St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Maria Gadston has already raised questions in regard to the boundary, including whether there will be a pathway between the school boundary and the development to allow families to walk to Northbrook Road from Ulwell Road, avoiding Washpond Lane that has no pavement.

Maria Gadston also adds:

“We would also recommend that the Council is made aware that there is presently very limited space for additional pupils at St Mary’s and nearly all classes are full.

“We have already had families being moved into rented properties at Compass Point who have assumed their children would be able to attend St Mary’s and have had to be turned away.”

Architect drawings of Old Grammar school housing
IDP Partnership

An architect’s impression of the housing viewed from Northbrook Road

“Create a safe, high quality development with a unique character”

In documents submitted as part of the application, the developer sets out its vision for the site:

“The proposed development reflects the existing routeways, movement patterns and built form. It aims to create a safe, high quality development with a unique character. The proposal has a strong landscape framework which responds to the access routes and built form.

“By working with the area characteristics and recognising the unique aspects of the site, we hope to deliver a high quality scheme unique to the area.

“Our vision for the site is to deliver a truly sustainable community, with a mix of quality housing set within an attractive landscape setting.”

Architect drawings of Old Grammar school housing
IDP Partnership

An architect’s impression of the housing on plots 36 to 42

“Low-carbon design”

In terms of sustainability of the development the developer says:

“Barratt supports the principles of low-carbon design, reducing carbon emissions and ensuring lower energy costs for our customers.

“We follow a ‘fabric first’ approach to building design, maximising the performance of the components and materials of the building itself, before considering the use of mechanical or electrical building services systems. This includes insulation, high-performing windows and doors, increased air tightness and maximising passive solar gains.

“We continue to review and apply new technologies that help deliver energy efficiency such as waste water heat recovery, improved insulation around windows and doors and energy efficient boilers.

“Such measures enable an EPC rating of ‘B’ or above when homes are constructed and make them eligible for products such as Barclays Green Home Mortgages. When customers occupy their new homes they receive a guide to its sustainability features to help safeguard the environment and reduce ongoing energy costs.”

Further details of the proposal include plans to provide 150 allocated resident spaces, 14 visitor spaces and 24 unallocated spaces for the 90 homes.

Grey long eared and common pipistrelle bats

Accompanying the planning documents is an ecological appraisal which found that grey long eared and common pipistrelle bats are living in the derelict grammar school buildings.

It was recommended that a dedicated bat roost was required to compensate for the loss of the existing roost and that bat boxes could be installed in trees and other buildings.

Palmate newts were discovered in the disused swimming pool but no evidence of great crested newts.

Members of the public can now submit their views on the application, with a decision by the planning authority, Dorset Council expected by Friday 3rd September 2021.

Further information

The planning application can be viewed on the Dorset Council website

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