Hawthorns School Robertson

JM Architects has designed the building. Credit: planning documents

SEND school primed for Tameside approval

The Hawthorns School is looking to relocate to the 12-acre Longdendale playing fields site off the A57 Hyde Road in Mottram.

Currently operating in Audenshaw, the school, which caters for pupils with special educational needs or disabilities, is struggling with capacity, leading to plans for a relocation to a site that sits off Manley Grove, close to an Active Tameside leisure centre.

The project is being taken through planning by Stantec for applicants Anwyl Homes Lancashire and Robertson Construction North West. The application is due to be heard on 21 December.

JM Architects has designed the scheme, with DTPC producing a travel plan and transport advice. The professional team also includes GRM Development Solutions, Dunelm Ecology, Hoare Lea, Redmore, DEP and Energy Counsel.

The proposal is for an expanded one-storey school of 43,460 sq ft, with full size grass playing pitch and a smaller 3G pitch, parking, landscaping and other infrastructure.

The Hawthorns School provides primary education and is part of the New Bridge Multi Academy Trust, which operates six such schools in north and east Greater Manchester.

Stantec’s planning statement describes the existing Audenshaw site as dated and too small. As of September 2021, the school had 133 pupils, 58 more than its desired capacity. A feasibility study concluded that a new purpose-built site for 220 pupils is the optimal outcome for the school.

One stumbling block could be that the site is classified as protected green space within the unitary development plan.

However, it is no longer used as playing fields, and it is acknowledged in the planning officers’ report that the cultivated green spaces offered by the development are a preferred outcome, as the school facilities will be available for community use outside of school hours.  Sport England has not objected.

Tameside’s planning reference for the application is 22/00678/FUL.

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