The plans to build a new school and campus at Seashell Trust in Cheadle Hulme for children and young people with special needs, have been recommended for approval by planners.

Planning officials from Stockport Council have today published their detailed report on the application which will see a new, £45m campus developed on the site at Stanley Road, Cheadle Hulme, and recommended that the development is approved.

The plan, which has undergone more than 22 months of scrutiny by the council, also includes an application for up to 325 homes on a part of the land owned by Seashell Trust between Wilmslow Road and the A34 at Heald Green.  The land is currently designated as greenbelt but the Trust’s application and funding for the new campus relies on the sale of the land to a home builder for the new school development to be viable.

Developments at Seashell Trust
Developments at Seashell Trust

Today’s recommendation for approval is a positive step forward for the Seashell Trust but the application will still need to be examined by elected members and will now go before the area committees of Cheadle Hulme and Bramhall in December and the full planning committee in January 2018 where a final decision will be taken.

Chief Executive and School Principal Mark Geraghty welcomed the news:

“We are very pleased that after rigorous scrutiny the planning experts at Stockport Council have taken the decision to recommend the scheme is approved. It has been a long road to get this point and we believe we have proved how important this scheme is to our children and to Seashell’s future as a leading light in the care of children with extraordinary special needs.

“We understand that using some of our land for housing to help pay for the scheme is a difficult decision but we have exhausted every other option and we are in desperate need of a new building for our very special children.”

And Mark was careful to underline the fact that the final decision on the scheme will not be made until January. He said: “While this is good news and we welcome the planners’ recommendation, we absolutely understand that the councillors have the final say and it is their decision when they meet in December and January that will define the future for Seashell Trust.

“We are all hoping that they see that the vital work we do here at Seashell educating and caring has to continue and support us in developing this new campus for our special children and young adults.”

The overall plan includes releasing part of Seashell Trust’s land to a housebuilder which they hope will raise around £30m. The Trust will be using some of its existing reserves, borrowing some money and relying on donations for at least £9m of the total £45m required.

The application includes a new school, high-quality recreational amenities, family support services and residential accommodation for students. 

Seashell Trust is the overarching charity which is responsible for the Royal School Manchester and Royal College Manchester both based at the site in Cheadle Hulme.

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.

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