Second phase of £2.5m expansion of St Helens primary school to be decided

Bleak Hill Primary School
Bleak Hill Primary School

Plans for the second phase of the £2.5m extension of Bleak Hill Primary School will be decided next week.

St Helens Council approved proposals to expand the Windle primary school back in January 2019 to meet growing demand for places.

Under the proposals, the school will accommodate a permanent 90 places for the 2020 intake.

The estimated cost of the overall proposed scheme is £2,555,000 and will be funded by the Department for Education.

Construction for phase one of the scheme started last October, with planning permission granted earlier in the year.

Plans for phase two were also submitted in October but were withdrawn and resubmitted in November.

St Helens Council’s planning committee is due to decide on the plans for the second phase of the scheme on Tuesday, February 11.

The application proposes the erection of a single storey extension to the existing school building, which would facilitate four new classrooms, as welll as a covered external teaching area, ancillary facilities, storage provision and additional playground provision.

Phase two would also see the construction of a new drop off zone accessed via Fairway, which would provide 15 spaces for parents to use while dropping off and collecting pupils.

It is proposed that six trees would be removed to accommodate this drop off zone.

In addition, the existing staff and visitor parking to the north of the site off Hamilton Road would be modified to accommodate eight additional parking spaces.

Windle Parish Council has objected to the plans on the grounds it will negatively impact residents of Fairway and Regal Drive, add to existing parking issues and create additional air pollution.

The parish council’s objection also states that Bleak Hill has been registered as a school that is under subscribed.

In addition, the planning report stares that there were objections received from 45 households covering a range of topics, including concerns that the new drop-off system won’t work.

However, following consultation, the council’s highways department raised no objections to the proposals.

Highways said the inclusion of a new drop off and pick up area included within the school grounds, as well as the development of the Travel Plan over the coming months and years, will help mitigate the impact of the proposed expansion and increased activity.

The council report says it is acknowledged that there are issues at Bleak Hill school at drop off and pick up times of the day, much like it is in other schools.

However, the report says it is not considered that the proposed development would have an “unacceptable impact” on highway safety.

In conclusion, the council report says the plans are deemed to be acceptable by planning officers and has recommended that planning permission be granted subject to numerous conditions.

“The proposal to extend the existing school building is considered to be acceptable, it has a suitable design for its function and locality, it is not considered to result in a detrimental impact on the amenity of neighbouring occupiers and would deliver improvements to the school,” the report says.

“It is considered that proposal should be granted planning permission. It meets the provisions of the development plan and is therefore a sustainable development.”

The application will be heard in public at St Helens Town Hall on Tuesday, February 11, from 5.30pm.