A NATIONAL sports body has objected to plans to open a new fee-paying school for infants in Chester as it would ‘reduce the opportunities for sporting activities’.
If given the go-ahead, parents could fork out about ï¿½2,600 per term for four- to seven-year-olds to attend the ‘eco-friendly’ school, which would be part of the existing King’s School campus off the A483 Wrexham Road, Chester.
But now, after plans for the ï¿½1.7m infant building were submitted to Cheshire West and Chester Council, Sport England has objected to the school, which has been scheduled to open in September 2015.
Sport England believes the development would ‘reduce opportunities for sporting activities’ in the area, with the new build resulting in the loss of 0.17 hectares of playing field and affecting half a junior football pitch.
But King’s School management insists the new building would not see the loss of any playing pitch provision, with the school proposed on a ‘partly grassed and tarmacked area’ incorporating its own playground.
The school says their planning consultants are currently in talks with Sport England to explore opportunities to enhance sports development across the site.
A report compiled by Bob Sharples, planning manager for Sport England, details the reason for their objection as: “Development which would lead to the loss of all or part of a playing field, of which would prejudice its use, should not normally be permitted because it would permanently reduce the opportunities for participation in sporting activities.”
Since the plans were submitted, two residents living on Fir Tree Avenue and Cottage Road, close to the existing school, have objected to the development saying parents, older students and teachers use their road as a car park.
Chester Civic Trust has also objected to the plans, saying it constitutes inappropriate development on the green belt.
If given the green light, the school is expected to provide 120 places for children, with 10 new teaching jobs and 10 additional support staff for the six classrooms.
A spokesperson for the King’s School said: “The development of the King’s Infant School will not have any detrimental effect on the quality or quantity of sports played at King’s.
“The new school is proposed to be sited on a partly grassed and tarmacked area which is of limited amenity value.
“Sport is an extremely serious part of the curriculum at the school and we are fully committed to ensuring this continues. Anyone who has seen the fantastic sporting facilities at King’s can see how much investment the school has made, and continues to make, in this area.
“King’s is proud of its provision for sport, offering 26 different sports and playing more than 1,000 fixtures in a year.”
A brochure distributed by the school last year details parents could pay ï¿½2,600 per term for their four- to seven-year-olds to attend the school, described as ‘eco-friendly and a ‘colourful’ environment and sharing facilities with the main school.