School sub­mits plans for move to green belt

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRIT­TON

KING’S School will this week sub­mit con­tro­ver­sial plans to move to a new site in the green belt.

The school will sub­mit three ma­jor plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions to al­low it to build a new school on 70 acres of green belt next to its Derby Play­ing Fields at Prest­bury. It can­not achieve the plan with­out selling off its cur­rent sites at Fence Av­enue and Cum­ber­land Street to pay for the build. So the plans in­clude 275 homes at Fence Av­enue and up to 150 at the Cum­ber­land Street site, on the Westminster Road play­ing fields which form part of the cam­pus.

The plans have an­gered res­i­dents who say the school should not en­croach on the green belt. Part of the site at Prest­bury has been listed as mak­ing a ‘ma­jor con­tri­bu­tion’ to the green belt in an in­de­pen­dent re­view for Cheshire East coun­cil. The re­port says the land be­tween Alder­ley Road, Big Wood and Spencer Brook con­trib­utes to the pur­pose of the green belt ‘in a strong and un­de­ni­able way’ and its re­moval would ‘detri­men­tally un­der­mine this pur­pose’.

An­drew Need­ham, chair­man of Cam­paign for Pro­tec­tion of Ru­ral Eng­land (CPRE) for Cheshire, said: “We’re con­cerned as some of the green belt which King’s wants to build on has been clas­si­fied as mak­ing a ma­jor con­tri­bu­tion to the green belt. It would need ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances to build on it.”

The school held public ex­hi­bi­tions, an event for par­ents and set up a web­site on its plans ear­lier this year. Around 150 re­sponses were re­ceived and changes in­clude ad­di­tional traf­fic-calm­ing and ac­cess re­stric­tions at Fence Av­enue and Westminster Road, plus an ad­di­tional ac­cess road to the Derby Fields site.

Head­teacher Dr Si­mon Hyde said: “The feed­back on the three ap­pli­ca­tions was gen­er­ally pos­i­tive. The coun­cil and res­i­dents on the whole are keen to re­tain King’s School within Mac­cles­field and un­der­stand the need to de­velop Westminster Road and Fence Av­enue to pro­vide a new school. Con­sul­tees gen­er­ally agreed there was a need for ad­di­tional hous­ing in the area and that the sites pro­vided sus­tain­able lo­ca­tions. There was a gen­eral un­der­stand­ing that the loss of some green belt was in­evitable to meet hous­ing need.”

The his­toric build­ings at Cum­ber­land Street are not in­cluded in the ap­pli­ca­tions.

A con­sul­ta­tion on their fu­ture is be­ing held.

●● An artist’s im­pres­sion of what the new King’s School at Derby Fields could look like

●● King’s School head Dr Si­mon Hyde said feed­back had been ‘gen­er­ally pos­i­tive’

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