DEVELOPERS are being urged to ensure any future project at the former site of Grappenhall Hall School 'reflects the unique location and heritage at the heart of the village'.

Warrington Borough Council's (WBC) education department has been given permission to dispose of the Church Lane site, after which it would no longer be considered an education asset and would go into the authority's estates pot.

The council said it will begin a consultation over the building and land later this summer – and confirmed 'no definitive plans are yet in place'.

WBC was consulting on the future of the former school a year ago, with a decision expected by last autumn.

However, there have been delays, with uncertainty and rumours continuing to circulate.

Grappenhall and Thelwall Parish Council discussed the matter at its meeting last month.

Cllr Ryan Bate (LD – Grappenhall) said: "It is vital that any future development of the school site reflects the unique location and heritage at the heart of our village.

"We are somewhat reassured that the community will be consulted towards a planning brief – to be drafted in the coming months – which will guide that future development.

"It is also important to emphasise that no decisions have been taken, the planning brief will be the first step towards determining the sites future and any rumours, of which there are many, are only rumours."

WBC confirmed security will be brought in to patrol the land.

A spokesman said: "The council is currently reviewing what can be done with the Grappenhall Hall School site and no definitive plans are yet in place.

"We will begin consultation over the site this summer.

"This process could take up to six months, depending on the level of engagement from stakeholders and options brought forward for consideration.

"The council has arranged security for the site, which will be in place throughout this process."

The school for pupils with special educational needs moved from its site on Church Lane to Green Lane in Padgate in September 2015.

Grappenhall and Thelwall Parish Council also confirmed it would be contacting WBC's enforcement team to establish the 'current situation' of The Rectory, on Church Lane.