Sheffield school wins planning appeal battle

Chapeltown Academy prepares to open its doors at the beginning of September
Chapeltown Academy prepares to open its doors at the beginning of September
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A Sheffield sixth form has won a planning application battle to return to its new site.

Sheffield Council’s planning committee originally turned down proposals to secure the Chapeltown Academy’s location on Hydra Business Park, Nether Lane.

Rebecca Maxted, Chapeltown Academy Principal

Rebecca Maxted, Chapeltown Academy Principal

The free school was already open under one year’s permitted development rights but proposals to formalise the scheme and make it permanent were turned down.

The decision has now been overturned after a High Court appeal and students will return to the site in September 2016.

Councillors feared the location was unsuitable because it is on a business park and there could be road safety problems with traffic and the possibility other developments on the park could be compromised as they would have to co-exist with the school.

But the sixth form bosses stressed that at least the unit would not be left empty and there had been no safety problems since the school opened in September.

The High Court overturned the decision and said in its ruling: “The answer to proposals for the development of state-funded schools should be, wherever possible, yes.”

Headteacher Rebecca Maxted said: “We are delighted obviously but we are not surprised.

“Our position all along was that the Secretary of State would recover the appeal and find it in our favour.

“We haven’t been too worried and have tried to maintain a sense of reassurance.

“We want some good news stories now. We have students going to Yale and Oxbridge and going into work placements.

“We’ve got excellent teachers and it is a good place to work – the school is going from strength to strength.

The sixth form is based temporarily at Thorncliffe Hall, Newton Chambers Road as building work was put on hold while the planning application decision was appealed.

Mrs Maxted said: “Thorncliffe Hall has been fantastic. It is a beautiful building but the pros of Hydra it that we designed it ourselves, to our specifications.”

Once completed the Hydra site will have a library and latest lab facilities as a university style lecture theatre and indoor and outdoor sports pitches.