Chester academy plans approved despite parking concerns

Reporter:

Daniel Greenland

Plans to develop a new academy on the site of an existing school in Chester have been given the go-ahead despite concerns over parking.

Christleton International Studio (CIS) has been operating in surplus space within Queen’s Park High School (QPHS) since September last year.

But following approval by Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning committee, work can now begin on a permanent “state of the art facility” to give the autonomous school a building “to suit their educational needs.”

The CIS is an independent academy for 14-19 year olds and has 85 students.  

Once completed the new facility will accommodate up to 330 students and 35 staff.

Jake Crompton, speaking on behalf of applicant the Education and Skills Funding Agency, said: “The proposal to locate the facility within the existing fabric of Queens Park High School makes best use of the site.

“The development will be situated between the existing Edwardian building and the 1930s building following demolition of the green concrete 1960s building which is unsightly and falling into disrepair.

“The proposal will result in a 12 per cent uplift of students across the site.

“In terms of parking there are 110 parking spaces at present, we are looking to make another 20 spaces which will make it compliant with the council parking standards.”

Work can begin on the conditions that cycle parking is provided on site and an effective travel plan is put in place.

Cllr Razia Daniels raised objections from Handbridge residents that the new academy building would put pressure on parking in the area.

Cllr Daniels said: “In Handbridge we have parking issues already.

“At the moment we are having problems with a school which has expanded and travel plans have not helped.

“I can predict when this school becomes full capacity we will be dealing with those issues on a daily basis. Handbridge deserves to be thought of in a different way.

“I’m asking for a robust travel plan to deal with the issue and hopefully not make Iife detrimental for the residents of Handbridge."

Fellow Handbridge Park councillor, Neil Sullivan, backed the development but agreed that parking conditions needed to be met.

Cllr Sullivan said “This is an exciting development which is welcome but the issue of concern is parking.

“Street parking in Handbridge is often taken by people working in the city and visitors.

“I would ask that a condition is placed within the travel plan that all parking issues are dealt with on campus and not displaced onto adjoining streets.

“That would put pressure on the school to make the travel plan work and clearly we would all prefer sustainable travel whether that be public transport, cycling or walking.

“There is sufficient land within the site that is not utilised if the school did need additional parking but I would hope the real solution is that the school can make the travel plan effective.”

There were no objections from environmental protection, Welsh Water or the highways department, among other consultees.

It was also considered that the new “custom built studio facility” will enhance the character and appearance of the Queen’s Park Conservation Area and the wider ranging views from the city walls.

Construction of the new school is expected to be completed by January 2019.

Email:

news@chesterstandard.co.uk

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