‘Per­plexed and dis­ap­pointed by de­ci­sion’ – head­teacher

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE -

BOSSES at the King’s school have ex­pressed their dis­ap­point­ment af­ter the plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion to re­lo­cate the school to a new site on Green belt was rec­om­mended for re­fusal by plan­ning of­fi­cers

In an open let­ter to the Ex­press, Dr Simon Hyde, head­teacher at King’s, de­scribed the rec­om­men­da­tions as ‘per­plex­ing and dis­ap­point­ing’. He wrote: “The re­jec­tion by Coun­cil of­fi­cers of the King’s School’s pro­pos­als is as per­plex­ing as it is dis­ap­point­ing.

“The Emerg­ing Lo­cal Plan, signed off by the Cab­i­net, Strate­gic Plan­ning Board and full Coun­cil states: ‘The Coun­cil in­tends to iden­tify a new site for the King’s School through its Site Al­lo­ca­tions De­vel­op­ment Plan Doc­u­ment. This has the ben­e­fits of re­leas­ing cen­tral, sus­tain­ably­lo­cated sites for de­vel­op­ment and will en­able im­proved school and sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties to be de­vel­oped.’

“In Strate­gic Pol­icy 1, the Plan talks about: ‘se­cur­ing ex­cel­lent ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­i­ties to meet the needs of the cur­rent and fu­ture pop­u­la­tion of all ages, to im­prove ed­u­ca­tional at­tain­ment and pro­vide a wide skills base.’

“The Na­tional Plan­ning Pol­icy Frame­work ad­vises that ‘lo­cal plan­ning author­i­ties should take a proac­tive, pos­i­tive and col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach” to schools and ‘give great weight to the need to cre­ate, ex­pand or al­ter schools’.

“The 450 homes ear­marked for the school’s sites, which the plan re­lies upon to achieve its hous­ing tar­gets must now be re­lo­cated. We are told there is no brown­field so­lu­tion for this prob­lem. The log­i­cal con­clu­sion is that the homes will have to be built in the Green­belt.

“The per­haps un­in­tended con­se­quence of the Coun­cil of­fi­cers’ po­si­tion is there­fore that 450 more houses will be built in the Green­belt rather than a school that oc­cu­pies a 5 per cent built foot­print with the re­main­der given over to sports pitches, open space and an en­hanced pub­lic right of way.

“Rather than ben­e­fit­ing ed­u­ca­tion and a 500-yearold char­ity, the pro­ceeds of that hous­ing deal is most likely to ben­e­fit a pri­vate in­di­vid­ual.

“The Emerg­ing Lo­cal Plan must be open to se­ri­ous chal­lenge as with­out a new school for King’s, its hous­ing num­bers must be con­sid­ered un­re­li­able.

“With­out a Lo­cal Plan, Cheshire East’s plan­ning de­ci­sions must be open to con­tin­u­ing chal­lenge and the threat to the area’s sub­stan­tial Green­belt pro­longed. Per­haps it is not just ad­vo­cates of the King’s School who will have cause to rue this de­ci­sion.”

●● Dr Simon Hyde

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