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Claires Court to appeal decision to block new campus

A private school is set to appeal against the Royal Borough’s decision to refuse planning permission for a new campus near Cox Green.

In August, councillors rejected proposals from Claires Court to move its senior boys and girls schools, in College Avenue and Ray Mill Road East, to the site of its junior boys school near Maidenhead Thicket, at Ridgeway, off Cannon Lane, to operate from a single campus.

Plans also included an amenity area, a running track, environmental garden and covered multi-use games area.

The council rejected the school’s proposals but in a statement released yesterday (Wednesday) Claires Court announced it will be submitting an appeal ‘in the coming weeks’.

Opposers – including the campaign group Cox Green Says No – were concerned about the loss of greenbelt land and the increase in traffic.

Cllr Phil Haseler (Con, Cox Green) said he would like to support the school but is still worried about these issues.

He said: “I have not got anything personally against the school.

“I think it is a very good school and I would like to support it but I do have issues with the traffic that a school of

up to 1,500 pupils would create in Cannon Lane and surrounding roads.

“The roads are already at a standstill so to add additional traffic is going to cause considerable congestion and have a major effect on the road.”

Should the appeal lead to a planning inquiry, Cllr Haseler added he will be attending as a resident only but would be keen to give his views.

“Of course we will speak and give our position,” he said. “On this occasion I would be going there as a local resident even though I have got those other labels. I won’t be going as the local councillor.”

Cllr Haseler did acknowledge that the school’s plans would have less of an impact on the greenbelt because an

application for housing was also thrown out.

In August, Berkeley Homes saw separate plans for 157 homes off The Ridgeway rejected at the same planning meeting.

“It is a reduced impact because the housing is not there,” said Cllr Haseler.

“But it will still impact on the openness of the greenbelt and that will be the planning balance for the inspector to make.”

Hugh Wilding, administrative principal at the school, said: “Claires Court is committed to providing the best education and facilities for all our pupils and families, which we do across our three Maidenhead sites.

“Our vision is to create a single campus embracing modern design advances in sustainability and efficiency for the benefit of all our pupils, from three to 18 years old, as well as providing facilities for the community, at our existing junior boys’ school near Maidenhead Thicket.

“We were naturally disappointed by the Development Management Panel’s decision at the end of last summer not to allow our applications to proceed and we have decided to use our right of appeal.

“We expect to submit our appeal in the coming weeks.”

More information on timescales and procedures will be available once the appeal is underway, the school added.

Visit bit.ly/2vBD6ZH to view the plans in full.

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