‘Perplexed and disappointed by decision’ – headteacher
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