School submits plans for move to green belt
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’