£12m expansion of Wilmslow High School edges forward

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The expansion of Wilmslow High School at a cost of £12m to meet the need for additional secondary school places in the town will be discussed by the Northern Planning Committee next week.

The Council approved plans in April 2020 to expand the High School from 1500 to 1800 pupil places, which will see the number of places for each year group from Year 7 to year 11 increase from 300 to 360 places from September 2023.

The proposal includes a single-storey extension to the main building and a further extension linking the existing Olympic Hall and Sports Hall blocks plus significant internal re-modelling.

The redevelopment proposals will create a new car park for staff at the northern end providing 30 spaces and the visitor car park will be integrated into the main staff car park providing 16 spaces which would result in a total of 253 car parking spaces for the school.

Wilmslow Town Council recommended refusal of this application on the grounds of additional traffic congestion at both the Holly Road and A34 entrances and the proposed solutions still being inadequate to resolve these issues. In addition, the proposal to create an entrance off Broadway Meadow does not appear to take into consideration the likelihood of a multi-storey car park being constructed on this site.

Eight objections were received, the issues raised included that the access solutions proposed do not go far enough to resolve existing congestion problems and pedestrian safety concerns, how can it be assured that the pick-up/drop-off at Broadway will not continue and proposed use of 6m tall lighting towers will impact nearby residents.

The planning officer concluded that whilst the site is located on an area of Existing Open Space, the areas of open space lost to development are very limited and there are sufficient benefits to outweigh this plus the proposals were also considered to be of an acceptable design.

Therefore, the planning officer is recommending approval of the plans subject to the receipt of a £8,000 towards parking (waiting) restrictions being introduced on Broadway and given that the Council cannot enter into a legal agreement with itself, it is recommended that permission is delegated back to the Head of Planning, in conjunction with the Chair of Northern Planning Committee, to approve, subject to this payment being made prior to the issuing of a decision notice.

The plans can be viewed on the Cheshire East Council website by searching for planning reference 20/2640M.

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Wilmslow High School
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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Adam Bower
Wednesday 28th October 2020 at 8:57 pm
It will never be big enough. We should create another school and almost reverse the 1980s / 1990's school closures that resulted in this massive over subscribed school.
Michael Harding
Thursday 29th October 2020 at 5:10 am
Ideally, it would be better to build a new school. Unfortunately, David Cameron's government passed a law forbidding local authorities from opening new schools. Their only option is to expand existing schools.
Eric Butterworth
Thursday 29th October 2020 at 8:41 am
The parking problems as a result of this project , will impact severely on Leaside way and Glenside Drive where there are existing parking / pick up problems at school opening and closing times , and it has been proven that the all day Parkers on Leaside way are mostly 6th formers and others from the High School making life difficult for residents. This problem needs to be addressed before building works go ahead !
Simon Worthington
Thursday 29th October 2020 at 9:38 am
Why, again is the truth obscured. There are around 2200 pupils and the sixth form appears not to count. This behemoth has been expanded twice since the council said no more. £12million to create around 10 classrooms and a few more facilities!!!! The mooted plan to build a high school around the deaf school site in Handforth appears to have gone from the agenda. Will another £12million have to be found when the Garden Village (1600 cookie cutters) is built in Handforth? £25million would provide a new, appropriately sited school.
Simon Worthington
Thursday 29th October 2020 at 9:43 am
Furthermore, as the "teachers" will be pushing their green message at the kids surely the available parking should be reduced and the staff encouraged to cycle/walk in!
Michael Harding
Thursday 29th October 2020 at 10:01 am
In response to Simon Worthington's comments, I repeat what I previously said. The law as it stands does not allow local education authorities to open new schools. All new schools have to be academies or free schools outside local authority control. Idiotic, I know, but that's what the law currently states.
Sheila Grindrod
Thursday 29th October 2020 at 1:18 pm
I agree wholeheartedly with Simon we do need a new school, it's far too big now never mind increasing the size. Also Michael, cannot the Law be changed to accommodate the ever increasing numbers.
Ed Pantling
Thursday 29th October 2020 at 2:28 pm
There is not enough space on the current site to expand. Access is also a problem at present. The best option is to open a new school for years 7 and 8's. There is space opposite on the other side of the bypass and behind Royal London.
Michael Harding
Thursday 29th October 2020 at 4:10 pm
In response to Sheila Grindrod. Of course the law could be changed, but this could only happen with support from the UK Government. This is highly unlikely to happen under the present Government as this particular law was passed by the Cameron Government when Michael Gove was Secretary of State for Education and Dominic Cummings his principal advisor. In my opinion, this particular law has little to do with education, but is more motivated by the prejudice of the Tory Party against local government. It means that local education authorities are responsible for ensuring there are enough school places in their areas but do not have the power to set up new schools of their own. Utterly ridiculous!

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