PLANS have been unveiled for a new school in Chester for teenagers with additional needs.

The proposal is for Maple Grove School, which was named Specialist Provision School of the Year in The Standard's Education Awards ceremony earlier this year, to have a new satellite site at what is currently the Elgan Edwards Building on Liverpool Road, most recently used as office space but now surplus to requirements.

The building was renamed in recognition of the Honorary Recorder of Chester in 2017 and has been part of the University of Chester Law School. Planning documents say the building was marketed in December 2022 through Legat Owen, and despite receiving an unconditional offer to sell to an office use purchaser, the proposed buyer pulled out after rising interest rates affected lending.

It is planned for the use to be changed from offices to education use at the building, to cater for up to 30 local children aged 14-19, but mostly of sixth form age.

The site will be used in conjunction with the existing Maple Grove School in Clare Avenue, Hoole, rather than a freestanding facility, and would provide employment for about 25 staff, some of whom would be split between the two school sites.

Maple Grove is an independent school catering for autistic children aged between five and 16 who may have additional needs. It supports children developing core life skills such as communication and social ability, sensory processing and emotional regulation. Every pupil develops the essential capabilities they need to be as independent as possible when they leave school.

Principally, pupils would arrive at the Liverpool Road building by local authority taxi, while other pupils may be brought by parents or within walking/public transport distance.

Applicants Alder King Planning Consultants, on behalf of Outcomes First Group, The Chester Diocesan Board of Finance, and the University of Chester, said in a planning statement: "The intention is that the school will help meet both the existing and future needs for specialist education in the Chester area. This would reduce the number of children needing to travel ‘out of area’ to find an appropriate education environment and reduce overcrowding in existing settings."

The existing structure of the building would remain unchanged, while internally the building would be repurposed to provide five classrooms, a one-to-one room, a therapy room and an immersive room, plus kitchen, dining and toilet facilities.

A total of 15 car parking spaces would be retained at the site, with one allocated as a disabled bay and an area for taxi waiting. A few spaces would be allocated for visitors.

The plans are to be decided by Cheshire West and Chester Council at a later date.