Developers have released an artist's impression of a proposed development near Epsom and Ewell High School and said work on the project could start imminently.

The artist's impression shows a rendering of the plans to build over 160 new homes — and aid the construction of new school facilities — on a section of Epsom and Ewell High School's grounds purchased from the school by developers Bellway.

Bellway said they had acquired the site, off Scotts Farm Road in Ewell, to build 161 new houses and apartments, including 65 homes designated as affordable housing for local people.

They said that the new properties were earmarked for the lower field part of the campus, "which has not been used by the school for several years" according to a company spokesperson.

The plans were previously submitted to Epsom and Ewell Borough Council (EEBC), and were approved at the planning committee on September 5 earlier this year, a council spokesperson confirmed.

Head of Sales for Bellway South London, Daniel Williamson, said work would likely start soon on the new development.

He added that the first of the new homes could be ready for sale as early as Spring 2020.

Surrey Comet: View of proposed site near Epsom and Ewell High School (Image via Google Maps)View of proposed site near Epsom and Ewell High School (Image via Google Maps)

Bellway have said that the sale of the land will fund a new building programme on the school's main campus — including the replacement of temporary classroom buildings with a new two-storey classroom block, plus a new sports hall, and a new artificial grass hockey pitch.

New facilities on the upper field including a 3G artificial grass football pitch, a compact athletics facility and a sports pavilion have also been suggested.

Despite assurances, the plans were previously met with resistance from hundreds of residents who live in the area.

On the EEBC website, the planning application for the development received 946 comments, of which 913 were classified as "Objections".

Many of those came in the form of a letter from community group 'Residents of West Ewell' (RWE), who campaigned against the development as it was submitted.

Citing concerns about the project, Ashtead resident Patricia Clarke said:

"I am a frequent visitor to relative and object because the area is congested enough. I don't agree with school fields being used for development and there are pollution and wildlife implications.

"Converting existing office blocks and existing rundown houses should be priority not building on any green area."

Epsom resident Miss Natasha Herrington meanwhile commented:

"I object to the building of more housing and destruction of a school field. There is plenty of uninhabited housing in the area which could be renovated to provide housing if there even is such a need...

"This build would not be in keeping with the 'local' feel of the town and area. Epsom has a rural vibe running through it, unlike neighbouring towns. It is what residents love about the area."

Mr Williamson however insisted that the proposed development would be a boon for Epsom and Ewell.

"The surplus school land that we have acquired at Epsom and Ewell High School will provide high-quality new homes for local people, as well as funding significant investment in the school’s education and sports facilities which will benefit local people for years to come," he said.

"We were chosen as the preferred partner for this project last year and have since been working closely with the school academy trust and local authority to ensure that our proposals best meet the needs of the local community.

"We have planned a mix of apartments and houses to provide homes for people in a range of circumstances, including a significant proportion of affordable homes, alongside new landscaped open space.

"Meanwhile, the new teaching block will replace classrooms that are inadequate and out of date and the new sports facilities will be available for use not only by students at the school but also other local schools, sports clubs and the wider community."

Mr Williamson added that, if the plans were fully greenlighted, Bellway "hope to start work on site as soon as possible, with the first homes set to be released for sale in the spring."

On confirming that the proposals had been given planning permission, a spokesperson for EEBC said that they would go ahead after Bellway submitted its side of the 'Section 106' legal agreement to the council, which is designed to mitigate any impact on existing residents.