King’s plans now hang in bal­ance

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

KING’S £50m plans for a new school are hang­ing in the bal­ance af­ter plan­ning bosses agreed to de­lay their de­ci­sion.

The move means the new cam­pus in Prest­bury will not open in Septem­ber 2017 as first hoped – and has been de­layed by at least a year.

Dur­ing a six hour plan­ning meet­ing, coun­cil­lors ini­tially de­bate the plans only to de­fer it.

The plans would see 450 homes built on the cur­rent school sites which would be sold off to pay for the new school.

But of­fi­cers in­di­cated that the plans could get the go-ahead if King’s pays more money to tackle the ex­tra strain on lo­cal schools caused by new hous­ing, and makes more homes af­ford­able.

David Mal­colm, plan­ning man­ager for the coun­cil, told the meet­ing: “There is a fine bal­ance when look­ing at all the is­sues. From what we’ve heard in terms on King’s new of­fers on af­ford­able hous­ing and schools pro­vi­sion, our rec­om­men­da­tion could change.”

The school sub­mit­ted three sep­a­rate ap­pli­ca­tions which would merge its cur­rent sites at Fence Av­enue and Cum­ber­land Street into a new school on 70 acres of green belt next to its Derby Play­ing Fields in Prest­bury.

The pro­pos­als in­clude 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.

Of­fi­cers rec­om­mended the strate­gic plan­ning com­mit­tee refuse all three plans over alack of af­ford­able hous­ing in the scheme, in­ad­e­quate fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tion to schools, as well as green belt and traf­fic con­cerns.

But King’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives told the com­mit­tee there had been ‘mis­un­der­stand­ing’ with the coun­cil over its of­fers and vowed to over­come those is­sues. Coun­cil­lors de­ferred a de­ci­sion on all three plans – but only af­ter a heated de­bate.

Dr Si­mon Hyde, King’s head­teacher, said the school was happy with the de­fer­ral, but con­ceded the de­lay would set back its plans to open the new school by at least a year.

“With our ad­vi­sors, the school will con­tinue to en­gage with of­fi­cers on the mat­ters that re­main,” he added.

“At present, there is uncer­tainty about ex­act timescales be­fore the ap­pli­ca­tions are pre­sented again to com­mit­tee mem­bers, but we are work­ing with of­fi­cers and agree the mat­ter should be ad­dressed as soon as pos­si­ble.”

A spokesman for Cheshire East said it plans to meet with the school to dis­cuss the var­i­ous out­stand­ing mat­ters.

●● An artist’s im­pres­sion of the how the new school could look

●● Dr Si­mon Hyde

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