Kings school plans hit by major blow
PLANS to relocate Kings School to a new site in Prestbury have been dealt a major blow after plamnning officers recommended them for refusal.
Three separate applications - to create a new single site school and for housing developments on its current two sites - have all been recommended to be turned down by councillors on the Strategic Planning Committee.
The matter was due to be decided at a meeting tomorrow, but the school has now asked for it to be deferred.
Bosses from the school say they are ‘disappointed’ at the news that planning officers at Cheshire East have recommended the planning applications should be rejected.
The school has submitted applications to close its sites at Fence Avenue and Cumberland Street and relocate the school to a new single site on 70 acres of green belt next to its Derby Playing Fields in Prestbury.
As well as an application for the new school, it submitted plans for 300 homes at Fence Avenue and 150 homes at Cumberland Street, on the Westminster Road playing fields which form part of the campus.
The plans have also been included in the council’s own local plan, which sets out where houses could be built in Macclesfield and surrounding areas up until 2030.
But all three applications have been given the thumbs-down by planning officers on documents released ahead of the meeting tomorrow (Wednesday, May 18).
It is not known when the committee will now discuss the plans but the committee could still reject their officers’ advice and vote to approve the plans.
Dr Simon Hyde, headteacher, said the school will take on board the recommendations and said a new school at Derby Fields is still the right move.
He said: “We were disappointed to learn that council officers intended to recommend refusal of the applications for a new school and housing at Westminster Road and Fence Avenue. The School has been working on these plans since 2012, holding pre-planning consultations in July 2015 before submitting a planning application in September.
“We will study carefully the officers’ recommendations but remain convinced a new school at Derby Fields will secure our position as a beacon of educational excellence for our region, extend our ability to provide community benefit and provide much needed housing and jobs for Macclesfield.”
Eileen Furr, from the Land East of Fence Avenue Campaign Group, which was set up to fight the proposals of a housing development on Green Belt at Fence Avenue, said she was delighted. She said: “We are obviously delighted that it has been recommended for refusal. On current guidelines and policy they had no choice but to refuse it.”
Mrs Furr has also questions King’s decision to have the application hearing deferred, andsaid undue weight has been afforded to the Local Plan, which is yet to be looked at by an independent inspector.
She said: “I don’t know what King’s think they can change that will change the planners mind, they can’t change National Policy.”
Officers recommended the 150 homes at Westminster Road are refused due to a lack of affordable housing, a failure to provide for the extra strain on local schools and lack of bat survey to assess the impact on the species.
At Fence Avenue, officers said the new homes would be inappropriate development in the green belt and cited a lack of affordable housing and the extra strain the homes would put on local schools.
The new school was recommended for refusal due to the impact on the green belt, traffic and lack of bat survey.
In a letter to the council’s planning department, the King’s legal team requested that the decision on the plans is deferred.
They said more weight should be given to the ‘enabling argument’ behind the plans.
●● A computer generated imaged of what the new King’s School would look like