COUNCILLORS in Cheshire West and Chester were divided over proposals to extend Malpas Alport Endowed Primary School after a revised application was submitted.

Approval for the school’s plans was given after a narrow vote of 

6-5 vote last week, but conditions have been placed on the application, including waiting restrictions to help the new development deal with the increase in traffic.

Planning officers were told it was intended to demolish the school house at the front of the school, in Chester Road, 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 – but councillors and officers were satisfied the revisions addressed this.

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

It appreciated the work that had gone into making the design more in keeping with its setting and the neighbourhood plan although there were concerns including the size of the development and the loss of green space in front of the school

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.

Parish councillors pointed out that  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.

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

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