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Cheshire council backs green belt school campus proposals

Published: Thursday, 4th August 2016

Planning committee deems that the Macclesfield’s Kings School development meets the “very special circumstances” required for development on the green belt…

Cheshire East Council’s strategic planning board has narrowly given the go-ahead for independent Kings School to build a brand new campus on a green belt site at Prestbury, a village three kilometres north of Macclesfield. Also approved were separate but linked proposals to build 450 new homes on Macclesfield’s Kings School’s existing campuses at Fence Avenue and Westminster Road in Prestbury.

The Communities Secretary Sajid Javid will now decide whether to intervene over a scheme which required the casting vote of the committee chairman.

Originally officers had recommended that the proposals should be refused arguing that the very special circumstances required to justify green belt development did not apply.

However following an increase in the package of contributions and an improved affordable housing package across the two existing school sites, members were recommended to approve the project.

The report to the committee concluded: “Whilst the proposals remain finely balanced, in the light of the additional information and community benefit to be provided by the housing developments it is considered that the benefits of the proposals in the round outweigh the automatic harm to the openness of the green belt by reason of inappropriateness, and very special circumstances exist to outweigh the harm.

“The proposal will allow for two key housing sites to be developed in line with the aims and objectives of the emerging local plan and the school will retain its historic ties with Macclesfield without having to relocate further…the scheme is socially, environmentally and economically sustainable.”

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Roger Milne