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Woolston free school win appeal against no to building plans
2:20pm Thursday 13th February 2014 in News
A BITTER three year row over the setting up a free school in Woolston looks to be over after Warrington Borough Council’s stance to oppose it was overturned.
Bosses at King’s Leadership Academy have won an appeal, meaning it is now free to pursue plans to build the new school, for 11 to 18-year-olds, on Hillock Lane.
Sir Iain Hall, who leads the team behind the school, said: “I always believed that our parents would get their new school. I am sorry that it has taken so long to jump over all of the hurdles but the wait will be worth it.
“The time has now come to put the past behind us and work with all parties in giving Warrington another excellent high school.
“I would like to thank the excellent team who have stayed with us throughout the planning application and all parents for the tremendous support they have shown.”
Warrington Borough Council turned down the planning application in July last year, despite recommendations from planning officers to approve it.
The council said the appeal process had incurred no extra cost, and staff involved were covered by usual salaries.
A spokesman said: “Although the inspector agreed that the council had substantiated its reasons for refusal of this application, the appeal has been allowed.
“The applicant applied for an award of costs against the council but this was dismissed.”
Bosses at King’s had hoped to open in September before plans were delayed by the council’s decision.
It is anticipated building work at Hillock Lane will be completed by July next year.
The school, currently based in temporary classrooms on Seymour Drive in Bruche, was first proposed in April 2011.
It was opposed by the Town Hall on the basis Woolston does not need a high school.
The council then accused the Department for Education of ‘bullying’ it into accepting an earlier planning application.
Parents and supporters hit back, claiming positive feedback left on the council’s planning website was omitted from formal documents.
Now approved, King’s is expected to feature an all weather sports pitch, 75 parking spaces, classrooms, library, kitchen, offices, gym, toilets, 80 bike spaces, and sports hall.
It will aim to take 120 pupils per year, with a capacity of 840, with 64 teachers and 32 non-teaching staff.