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A local history presenter has praised Bromford for restoring an empty Victorian primary school in Worcestershire to its former glory.

Geoff Shaw, who delivers walking tours exploring the history and canals of Stourport-on-Severn on behalf of Stourport Forward, has celebrated the renovation of the historic school building on Tan Lane as part of Bromford’s £10.5m retirement living scheme School Gardens.

The listed school building is being converted into three brand new apartments for retirement living with the finishing touches currently being made to the internal part of the restoration programme. The building, which dates back to 1897, has seen the rise and fall of industrialisation in Stourport and is said to have survived nearby aerial bombardment during World War Two. It lay empty for a number of years but was previously home to Tan Lane Infants School and later Stourport First School.

Geoff held a talk at the historic site on Thursday 15th February where he entertained dozens of people on the ‘two golden ages’ the town enjoyed.

“I think it’s absolutely fantastic what Bromford has done in keeping the façade of the building completely intact,” Geoff said speaking after the event. “By retaining this on the corner of Tan Lane you are keeping in touch with the history of the area and I think that’s so important – facades like this need to be kept and are vital links remaining from our history.”

Heritage

The former Black Country school teacher of 35 years added: “I don’t think we’ve necessarily got better at restoring listed buildings over the years. For many years, developers were not the best at keeping and conserving listed buildings and things were lost without people really realising the value of it.

“With the decline of many of its older industries, Stourport benefited inadvertently from having little redevelopment which is why so much of its old building footprints remain. In this case however Bromford has redeveloped a site with important new modern housing provision, whilst recognising the value of heritage and conservation.

“The former infant school really does strike you as you come down the road and invites questions about the whole development and what you’re doing, and that has to be a massive positive for the area.”

Residents are expected to start moving into their new homes from April. Overall the development is providing 60 high-quality one and two bedroom apartments for people aged 55 and over as well as a café bistro, lounge, activity studio, gym and hair and beauty salon.

Are you interested in moving to School Gardens? Call 01299 825030 or visit this page for further information.

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