Seashell Trust inquiry to start in May
The disabled learning charity has submitted its evidence to the planning inspector, as the date nears for its appeal to be heard against Stockport Council’s refusal of permission for a school and campus project.
The trust put forward proposals for a £45m school and 325 homes in Heald Green, close to the Handforth bypass, as it looked to replace its existing dated buildings on the site, with the project to be part-funded by the sale to a housebuilder of green belt land owned by the trust.
The overall masterplan includes a new school with therapy suite and swimming pool, extension of the existing college, family assessment units, family support services, sports hall and pavilion, new main entrance drive, reception and car parking. Planning permission has already been granted for a new 3G sports pitch.
However, despite officers recommending approval, the plans were refused in January 2018, committee voting seven to five against, with issues cited including affordable homes provision and that not enough had been done to demonstrate the special circumstances required to incur into the green belt.
The trust lodged its appeal in June, and as required has now followed that up with submission of evidence, which will be heard at an inquiry which is due to start on 8 May.
Seashell Trust chief executive Jolanta McCall said: “We were incredibly disappointed with Stockport Council’s decision to refuse our application, which would see us create a desperately needed new school and campus here at Seashell and believe that the decision the planning committee took was the wrong one.
“We spent over two years preparing our original application, we answered every question asked of us and we believe we demonstrated very special circumstances would allow us to secure planning permission on the site.”
The hearing is scheduled to take up to six weeks.