King’s plans now hang in balance
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