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Malpas primary school to expand despite traffic fears

Approval given to plan which will add 100 more pupils to Malpas Alport Primary

Malpas Alport Primary School

Proposals to extend a primary school in a growing village were decided on a narrow vote.

The revised application was made at Malpas Alport Endowed Primary on Chester Road, Malpas by Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Planning officers were told it was intended to demolish the school house at the front of the school and replace it with a new single storey split level building providing four classrooms.

The car park, also at the front of the school, would be expanded while the school hall and an undersized classroom would be extended.

There would also be a new ramped access to the school and minor internal alterations which did not require planning permission.

A previous application was refused at the end of last year as it was believed the new build would fail to preserve the character and appearance of the Malpas conservation area and on traffic grounds.

Highways officers acknowledged the development would result in an increase in pupil numbers and that this will have an additional effect during typical school drop off and pick up periods.

But it was not thought this would worsen the situation to the point at which significant safety issues would arise. Traffic regulation orders were also proposed.

Malpas Parish Council recognised the need for the expansion of the school in order to cater for the demand for more school places from local children as the village grew.

The parish council’s main fear related to traffic and safety issues as parking was already at a ‘critical level’ with ‘major traffic problems’ at school times. It believed a transport plan did little to deal with the issues.

Parish councillors pointed out cars line Chester Road blocking the carriageway and restricting traffic. There is insufficient space for cars to pass and the number of illegally parked vehicles adds to the problem.

There would be an increase of just over 100 pupils and five staff and it was thought there would be an additional 67 cars at school times.

Further waiting restrictions in the form of yellow lines would be introduced along Chester Road to deter school related parking and to ensure that two way traffic flow was retained along the road.

None of the trees to be lost were of high quality and there would be no unduly harmful effect on neighbours subject to obscure glazing of new windows or landscaping.

The application was recommended for approval subject to conditions.

The borough’s planning committee heard from Katie Norris who spoke on behalf of Malpas Parish Council against the application and applicant Gavin Griffith.

Councillors discussed the plans in terms of the council’s duty to provide sufficient school places and its lack of resources to provide another school in a different location set against the impact in exacerbating existing parking and traffic problems in the vicinity.

It was clarified the proposed waiting restrictions which would keep the narrow section of road clear and move traffic to where it was wider and two cars could pass.

A proposal to approve the application was carried on a 6-5 vote.

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