RESIDENTS fighting the development of 28 homes on the site of a former school have branded the council’s decision to give the green light as a ‘disgrace’.
Cheshire West and Chester Council’s (CWaC) planning committee voted unanimously in favour of plans to build the Morris Homes development on the site of the former Ridings Community Infants School on Rake Way, Saughall.
Campaigners had been fighting to turn the former school site, which was devastated by an arson attack on December 30, into a community facility for residents of Saughall, claiming that the amenities in the village were already at breaking point.
Ross Jones, who headed up the Ridings Project, said: “It’s a disgrace and I’m absolutely disgusted with the decision that the council have reached over the Ridings and we have already filed a complaint against it.
“I’m furious at what has gone on and they are bang out of order. They have failed in their duty of care and haven’t considered the needs of the village during this process.
“After all the campaigning that myself and the other opposing residents have done to stop this development, I’m gutted that this is the conclusion that has been reached by council.
“At the moment, we are David and they are Goliath and we have the stone in our hand, ready to throw it between the council’s eyes but it is now even more difficult to claim victory.
“I’m not too sure whether I have got the fight in me to keep on going as myself and fellow opposers have invested an enormous amount of time and effort in to this campaign. We’ll have to wait and see.”
CWaC agreed to sell the site to Morris Homes last year, after the school closed in November 2009 after 35 years, amalgamating with Thomas Wedge Infant School to form the new Saughall All Saints Primary School.
However, with the school already over subscribed with 291 pupils in a 280 place school, and the Ridings site lying in the green belt and designed for community use, residents have argued that the village simply can not cope with 28 more homes.
Addressing the planning committee, campaigner Mike Heathcote, said: “This application to build these homes has been opposed by a great many people in Saughall. We have received 69 letters of objection to the proposals. Mr Ross Jones strongly maintains that, by approving this development, the council would be contravening planning laws, due to the sites positioning on the green belt.
“This one development is far too intrusive and would be detrimental to the amenities of the neighbourhood.”