A charity based in Cheadle near Stockport is applying for permission to build 325 new homes on green belt land to raise funds for a new facility.
Seashell Trust, a national charity that supports children and young adults with complex learning disabilities, is trying to raise £45m for an overhaul of its Stockport campus, including a state-of-the-art school, support services and recreational facilities.
In order to raise the funds needed for the project, the charity applied for outline planning permission on land that it owns near the village of Heald Green, and the plans have now been recommended for approval by planning officers.
But the local community are protesting the sale of the Green Belt land, and have raised concerns about the loss of the green space as well as the impact the 325 new homes would have on the area.
A statement released by the Save Heald Green Green Belt action fund said: “We fully recognise Seashell Trust’s highly commendable mission of educating and caring for SEND children.
“However, as regards the Trust’s most recent planning application, we are quite rightly concerned about the unprecedented cost of this proposal for a SEND facility. The proposed build costs are now £45 million (up from £36 million as publicly stated in December 2015) predominantly funded by the sale of Green Belt land to a house builder.
“In addition to the loss of our highly valued and irreplaceable Green Belt, 325 houses will have an obvious impact on access to local amenities, extra traffic and the resultant decrease in air quality.”
After a meeting of councillors and members of the public yesterday where the proposals were discussed, the Planning & Highways Committee will visit the site, as well as investigate the charity’s proposals for its new development, and a date has been set for 11 January 2018 for the committee’s decision.
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