Staffordshire Housing have joined forces with Derby-based builders, Hodgkinson Builders, to build 20 new affordable homes on the site of an “eyesore” former school.

Police and community officials have welcomed the plans on the site of the former Florence School, in Dresden, Stoke-on-Trent, which had been a magnet for anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping since the school closed in 2002.

The new development, on the junction between St Clair Street and Lilleshall Street, will see 11 three-bed and nine two-bed homes available for rent.

Marshall Fear, Head of Enterprise and Growth at Staffordshire Housing Association said: “we are very pleased to be working alongside Hodgkinson Builders to develop much needed affordable housing on the former Florence Primary school site which closed more than 15 years ago with the land becoming an eyesore since it was left abandoned. This scheme will help give the area a long awaited and much needed lift.

“Staffordshire Housing remain committed to delivering developments on the more difficult to deliver brownfield sites across North Staffordshire and South Cheshire.”

Councillor Lilian Dodd, Lord Mayor of Stoke and councillor for the Dresden and Florence ward, welcomed the news, having campaigned for 10 years to get the site cleared. She said: “I’m absolutely over the moon that it’s actually happening, at long last.

“It’s been an environmental eyesore – a dumping ground of everything you could think of. It’s been absolutely disgusting.

“The workmen are in there now and over the past four weeks have cleaned out the land. It’s even better already, without any building work on it. It’s going to be absolutely marvellous, and there’s a desperate need for affordable housing in the area.”

Resident, Freda Green, said: “The development is brilliant and it is not happening before time. Some days we would go out and come back to furniture dumped on the site!”

Ian Hodgkinson, director at Hodgkinson Builders, said: “It will help to regenerate a run-down site and provide much-needed housing in the local area. This news marks what will be the start of a great year for Hodgkinson Builders , as we are set to build 120 new homes in 2019.”