A Grade II listed former school building is part of major plans for one Merseyside village.

Redcourt, at 7 Devonshire Place in Oxton, Wirral, used to form part of Redcourt St Anselm’s, a Catholic prep school, until it closed in 2019.

The listed building was built in the 1870s and designed by Edmund Kirby for George Rae and his family.

It is a substantial red brick building, arranged over four floors with a two-storey link extension built to the west in the late 1990s.

But now a plan to turn the listed building into 13 two-bedroom apartments and two one-bedroom apartments has been approved.

Wirral Council’s Planning Committee approved the proposal at a meeting last week, with all members in favour apart from one who voted against and another who abstained.

The application also includes plans to build 22 more two-bedroom apartments and eight more one-bedroom apartments in a new stand alone three-to-four storey building adjacent to Redcourt.

Many local residents were concerned about the plan.

A petition against the proposal containing 40 signatures has been received by Wirral Council.

Speaking at the committee meeting, local resident Daniel Travers said the plan for 30 apartments adjacent to Redcourt was what he was concerned about.

Mr Travers said he welcomes appropriate development of the site, but felt this plan did not meet that standard.

He said the plan should be rejected due to concerns about the design, scale and appearance of the proposed new block.

Mr Travers added that this plan has caused great upset in the local area, with some deciding to move away.

Cllr Allan Brame, who represents Oxton on Wirral Council, said council guidelines on the Noctorum Ridge area said that three-storey blocks of flats will not be allowed.

Given that this proposal was three-to-four storeys, the Lib Dem councillor said the local authority would be ignoring its own guidelines if it approved the plan.

Ultimately Cllr Brame, who spoke as a ward councillor and is not a member of the Planning Committee, thought that this proposal was out of scale with the area given the more modest two-storey properties nearby.

His Lib Dem colleague David Mitchell, who was the only member of the committee to vote against the plan, agreed that it would lead to a dramatic change in the character of the area.

Cllr Mitchell was adamant that this impact would be a negative one, both to the surrounding area and Redcourt, the listed building forming the other part of the proposal.

But Paddock Johnson Partnership, who put together the design and access statement for the plan on behalf of Forth Homes Ltd, said the site is currently unused, posing a risk of anti-social behaviour which could harm the lives of those who live nearby.

Part of the statement read: “The proposals will breathe life into a vacant Grade II listed building requiring significant investment and regeneration, in a currently underused site.”

Most members of the Planning Committee were in favour of the plan.

Labour councillor Steve Foulkes said the amount of storeys in the proposed block was less important than factors such as its height in comparison to nearby buildings.

He also made the point that Wirral Council has “extremely challenging” housing targets and that if this proposal for flats in a residential area is dismissed, then it was hard to say where in the borough houses could be built.

Conservative councillor Kathy Hodson agreed, saying that the issue of storeys should be given less weight as there were many tall buildings in the neighbourhood.

The proposal was approved and is now set to go ahead.