The developer’s plans to build 121 homes at the former school site in central Macclesfield are tipped for approval, following completion of its deal to buy the site in February.
Hillcrest Homes’ plans go before Cheshire East’s strategic planning board on Wednesday 22 April with a recommendation to approve; plans for the site’s development having twice been deferred at committee, most recently in December.
Two reasons were given for deferral: concerns over two of the housing types to be used, and the committee’s request that the cricket pavilion and associated war memorial be retained if possible.
The first concern has been dealt with by reconfiguring plans and by subdividing units, outcomes being an increase in the overall number of homes on site from 115 to 121, and the increase of affordable homes from 5 to 12.
While the pavilion will still be brought down, Hillcrest now intends to reconstruct it in a new position aligned with the scheme’s eastern homes. The War Memorials Trust has said it has no objection.
With the school now relocated to a £60m site in Prestbury, Hillcrest finally completed its acquisition of the Cumberland Street site in February for an undisclosed sum.
The project combines new build and the conversion of listed heritage buildings. Under the plans, drawn up by architect Project3, an existing building within the King’s School complex would be converted into 29 one- and two-bedroom apartments, with the addition of a contemporary extension to the rear.
A further 45 apartments for elderly people, and 33 two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom houses are also proposed. The former library will accommodate seven dwellings and the Gate House a single home, with six duplex apartments added to the mix.
The main application is accompanied by a listed building application that deals with the removal of 20th century additions to the principal grade two-listed buildings that form part of the scheme.
Avison Young is the planner for Hillcrest and Exterior Architect is the landscape architect.
Bellway Homes and retirement living specialist McCarthy & Stone are also advancing projects on the King’s estate, while Barratt and David Wilson Homes, along with housing association Torus, have started on 300 homes at the school’s former Fence Avenue site.
Unsurprisingly for such a prominent and sensitive site, the plans have attracted a great deal of attention, with Macclesfield Town Council among those registering a series of issues at various stages – following the second deferral in December and subsequent consultation on amended proposals, a further 46 objections have been logged.
Nevertheless, officers once again recommend approval, stating that the applicant has done the necessary work to produce a viable scheme supported by planning policy.