In March, we reported Mark Vincent had started a project in September 2019 making a replica of the school inside the Minecraft video game. This has now been completed, and Mark has sent in some photos showing what it looks like.
Almost a year and a half since it was announced developers got permission to transform the school site into a retirement village, it looks like work has finally started.
The modern Senior School building and gymnasium are being demolished as can be seen in the following photos recently taken by Mark Vincent and his friend Dave Davies.
On a happier note, Mark says he started a project in September last year making a replica of the school built inside the video game Minecraft. It is not finished yet, but Mark has shared this photo of what it looks like so far:
Thank you to Mark and Dave for sharing and sending these photos in.
The Liverpool Echo reported yesterday the school could finally be transformed into a retirement village as previously mentioned here, subject to planning permission. It has now been confirmed Octopus Healthcare had their plans approved at a Sefton Council Planning Committee meeting held last night.
We mentioned last month it looked like work was underway for the new development judging by a press release made by Octopus Healthcare on their website. The drawing at the top of that page matches the plans seen at Southport Town Hall in March.
This has, understandably, led to some confusion as the article does not say where in Birkdale the development will be. It has been assumed this to be the location of the school but it looks like this may now be referring to where Sunshine House was on Oxford Road.
Following on from news reported earlier this year, this page seems to indicate work is underway for the construction of a new £16m development on the site of our old school, judging by artwork seen at the top of that page.
According to the article, the new development will provide accommodation for over 100 people and will feature a 74-bed village, divided into six households, providing 24-hour care and nursing support. In addition, the village will offer 30 one and two bedroom independent living apartments, together with a range of facilities open to the public, including a bistro, hair salon, exercise studio and function rooms.
If this is relating to Octopus Healthcare’s proposals for the school, it may take time for construction work to actually begin as there is no visible activity on site at the moment.
UPDATE 18.10.18 It would appear the description given on Octopus Healthcare’s website may be referring to development taking place on Oxford Road where Sunshine House used to be.
Signage seen there refers to care village operator Belong and construction company Pochin who are both mentioned in the article.
According to OTS News, a consultation into a proposed redevelopment of the school is to begin following discussions between Sefton Council and Octopus Healthcare.
Octopus Healthcare plan to redevelop the site into Extra Care accommodation, which includes creating up to 120 apartments, a bistro, residents’ lounge, library and salon. The proposed plans can be seen here.
An exhibition of the proposed scheme will be available to see in the Churchtown Room at Southport Town Hall on 15 March from 2pm till 7.30pm.
UPDATE 15.3.18 Representatives from Octopus Healthcare Group were at Southport Town Hall today with various displays showing their proposed plans for the school site. Following this consultation and getting feedback from interested parties, a planning application will be submitted to Sefton Council and a decision is expected in June/July.
Some photos of their drawings are shown below: (Click on image to see a bigger picture)
Several members of Southport Centre for the Deaf, some of whom are former pupils of the school, visited Southport Town Hall today for a guided tour. During the visit, the group were shown the ‘Birkdale Room’ which contained a stained glass window from the school.
This 4-foot square window was designed by about 20 pupils in 1991 and was constructed as part of a project for the Merseyside Arts Festival. It was created from a collage of the pupil’s designs centred around the school coat of arms. Help came from Ron and Ruth Cave of Cromwell Stained Glass Workshop in Southport.
After being displayed at the Market Street Hearing Care Centre, the window was unveiled at the school in honour of Principal Mrs Tomkinson who retired at Christmas 1991. It was originally installed above the main staircase leading from the entrance hall to the first-floor landing.
[This news item was originally written about travellers moving on to the school field on Monday 8 August but as an update below shows, they left about 10 days later.]
Since yesterday (8th) travellers have been living in caravans on the school field. Originally they were seen on land next to Royal Birkdale but according to the Southport Visiter the travellers left the site off Waterloo Road over the weekend.
A Granville Road resident told Tony Wright this afternoon the travellers moved from the Royal Birkdale area to Sunshine House, the old school for the blind, then on to the Lancaster Road site. The police have been involved but they say they can’t move the travellers because they’re on private land.
There is no security and there is very easy access on to the grounds. The gate leading to the field looks to have been demolished and the main entrance gate is wide open. Sefton Council needs to do something soon to secure the land and property.
UPDATE 10.08.16: The Visiter reports that a Granville Road resident used her car to try and prevent the travellers moving on to the field. The car was parked in front of the entrance after a convoy of travellers arrived at the gates.
UPDATE 11.08.16: According to On the Spot News, the travellers have been blocked in to stop them getting out. They would need to go to court to get the blocks moved.
UPDATE 20.08.16: Following a back-and-forth battle between the landowner and the travellers, which involved the dumping and removal of concrete blocks and then rubble, notice was served on the travellers requiring them to leave the school site. The Visiter reports they have now left.
This week’s Southport Champion is reporting teenagers, believed to be from Greenbank and Birkdale High School, are entering our school building to take illegal highs in the form of nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas.
According to the article, used canisters have been found on the property. Some residents have reported seeing students, still in their school uniform, climbing over fences and getting onto the site. Evidence has been given to Merseyside Police and the Champion investigation also found discarded bottles of alcohol and graffiti.
The Champion article says Councillor Tony Dawson has raised this issue with the local PCSO. He also believes a Repairs Notice under Section 48 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 should be served on the owners setting out the repairs needed to preserve the listed building.
Greenbank High Headteacher Ian Raikes told the Champion the concern about pupils being on the Lancaster Road site has been addressed through assemblies to encourage students not to visit or to put themselves in danger.
The result of the Public Inquiry held in August has been announced. The Planning Inspectorate has rejected Centremodel’s appeal on development plans for the land and buildings of our school. The rejection mainly concerns the spacing and layout of the proposed development, which was considered to be too detrimental to the surrounding conservation area.
Update – 7 Oct: The Champion newspaper ran an article on its front page about the developer’s losing their appeal in this week’s edition of the paper.
The Champion newspaper reports there is to be a Public Inquiry on 18 August over developer plans to add homes on to the school site. Sefton Council previously refused the plans saying they do not include “affordable housing”. Local residents are encouraged to attend the public meeting if they are concerned with what may happen to the conservation area surrounding the school.
Update 20/6: local resident Mike Nash has signed our Guestbook requesting support at the Public Inquiry to oppose the plans put forward by Centremodel.