As one Northwich school's specialist status plans come a cropper, another school unveils its own ambitious proposals.
RESIDENTS have defeated plans for a school extension which would have been built just yards from their homes.
But it could prove a major stumbling block for bosses at Rudheath High who were hoping the new building would be the focal point of the school's performing arts facilities.
The school had submitted plans for a two-storey extension to Vale Royal Borough Council that would improve both the arts and leisure facilities. The building, which would have been available for public use, would have consisted of dance studios, music rooms, a state-of-the-art recording studio and new leisure and fitness facilities.
But councillors rejected the proposals after hearing how it would adversely impact on residents in the adjourning streets.
One resident, who did not wish to be named, said he had been told by estate agents that the value of his house would drop if the plans had been given the go-ahead, and said he hoped last week's decision would make the school realise the effects its proposals, which were part of its successful specialist status bid, would have on people living nearby.
He said: 'We are pleased the kids have got their arts status. Everyone on the streets around here have got kids and grandchildren who have gone to the school. But we think this extension could be built elsewhere in the school grounds where it would be nowhere near any neighbouring properties and would not affect anyone else.
'We were ecstatic when we heard the application was refused, we really thought it would be going ahead.
'We feel the school has been a bit unneighbourly about all this. We don't want to come across as being mean but this was never about just a dance studio and it would have been built right at the back of our houses.'
Graham Cookson, business manager at Rudheath High, said: 'We do not have any comment to make as we are awaiting the reasons for the refusal.
'However, we are having a meeting with Vale Royal Borough Council's chief planning officer so hopefully it will be a bit clearer after that. The school will then decide how to move forward from there.'
He said the school had kept residents informed of the proposals, adding: 'We wrote to all the people whose houses back on to our land and we held public meetings. Obviously some people had concerns regarding the proposals and we were able to allay some of those concerns. We feel we have done all we can.'