Seashell Trust Large

Seashell Trust submits appeal against Stockport refusal

The disabled learning charity has filed its appeal against the refusal by Stockport Council to grant planning permission for a £45m school and 325 homes on greenbelt land near Heald Green in January.

Seashell’s board of trustees said that they believe the decision to be “fundamentally flawed and grossly unfair,” delivering on the appeal as they pledged to do in March.  and has pledged to fight for the future of its students.

Chief executive and school principal Mark Geraghty said: “It was a huge blow having the application refused and we were very disappointed, especially as the councillors ignored the advice of their own professional, qualified planning officers.

“We considered our options and we quickly realised that we had no choice but to appeal against the decision. As anyone who has cared for someone with special needs will understand, these children and young adults deserve to have someone in their corner and we believe this decision is wrong and unfair and we intend to fight it on their behalf.

“We have filed our appeal and Stockport Council will now have defend their decision which will cost them money they really didn’t need to spend. We spent over two years preparing our application, we answered every question asked of us and we believe we have clearly demonstrated very special circumstances. We fully expect to win consent for our application.”

A Stockport Council spokesman said: “We’re aware of an appeal from the Seashell Trust regarding a recent planning decision. This will now be heard through the appropriate appeals process.”

The charity provides specialist care to children and young people with autism, deafness, blindness, and those with physical and learning disabilities, and had lodged a hybrid application for the school at the site between Wilmslow Road and the A34 bypass, which would provide teaching space, a swimming pool and associated infrastructure. The facility would replace its existing 120-capacity school at the site, with part of the site sold for housing to fund the project..

Willmott Dixon had already started demolition of some of the existing buildings, which are, said the charity, no longer fit for purpose.

Stockport’s committee voted by seven votes to five against the scheme in January, in the face of officers’ recommendation to approve

The officers’ report, however, had noted that the proposals were “in conflict with relevant green belt policies” in the area’s local development plan, and added the scheme would have “a detrimental impact” on the openness of the green belt and would result in “encroachment into the countryside”.

The development would also cause “significant extra demand” for local school places which “could not be readily absorbed by existing schools in the borough”.

Seashell’s professional team for the proposal included architect Worthington Ashworth Jackson Walker and NJL Consulting as planner.

Your Comments

Read our comments policy here

I am not a planner but have in a professional capacity visited Seashell on a number of occasions. Personally I found them very heartbreaking, yet life affirming experiences.
As a parent my heart goes out to the children, and young people there. Ultimate respect to the carers and workers there, so dedicated and caring.

By DMPC

Very good decision by the Trust. Good luck!

By Junior

Assume there a Highway reason for refusal too. How did those minibuses get into those spaces against the One Way traffic?

By Edge

One of the reasons given by SMBC for the refusal was that the Very Special Circumstances required for building on green belt had, yet again, not been demonstrated.

By Phil

There is not enough infrastructure planned and although the school do a good job it really hasn’t been thought out !!!Ie schools , health centres transport and lastly I’ve just come along that particular road and it’s bumper to bumper with cars vans etc

By Patricia Bruce

Sympathy for the school but no infrastructure planned !!! schools, health centres, transport , and I’ve just travelled on the said road & bumper bumper with cars lorries etc and also shouldn’t be building on Green Beltb!!!

By Patricia Bruce

For years the Trust have maintained there is ‘no Plan B’. If Stockport Council didn’t grant permission to sell the green belt and fund this hugely expensive development then the Trust would have to shut down. During the application meeting their Finance Director undermined that by saying that without permission they would still build the new school, it would just take longer to raise the money. So, the sale of green belt is NOT required…it’s just a more desirable way of doing it.

By Phil

For years the Trust have maintained there is ‘no Plan B’. If Stockport Council didn’t grant permission to sell the green belt and fund this hugely expensive development then the Trust would have to shut down. During the application meeting their Finance Director undermined that by saying that without permission to sell the green belt land they would still build the new school, it would just take longer to raise the money. So, the sale of green belt is NOT required…it’s just a more desirable way of doing it.

By Phil

I don’t think anyone has ever doubted the good work that the school does.

Mr Geraghty stood up and said in a public meeting a number of years ago that this was not about expanding, yet it clearly is. At the same meeting he threatened there was no plan B and if planning was refused the school would close.

He also makes references to the Trust answering all the questions of the planning committee… they kind of answered them in the end… some do still remain I think rather vague.

It’s simple, if we continue to build on green belt they’ll be nothing left for our children and future generations to enjoy. The infrastructure around the development is already clogged, and let’s not forget one of most polluted routes (The A34) runs adjacent to this proposed development, more houses equals more cars, and more cars equals more pollution. That in turn does the local residents, and indeed the children no good whatsoever! We do seem to keep missing this point completely!

The people standing up against this are not NIMBYS as everyone refers, but if the purse strings do not allow you spend £45 million you scale back what you’re trying to achieve and think more sensible in your approach.

If I wanted to live in an area as overcrowded as Cheadle will become I’d have moved to London!

By A local

Because of the amount of traffic all ready going along the A34 and causing problems every day I think there will be too many houses. Schools hill is all ways a problem at school time. There is too, much traffic all ready.

By Mrs Beryl Mcintyre.