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All-through school plans for power station redevelopment approved by two councils

By Kerry Ashdown | Rugeley | News | Published:

The latest plans for transforming the former Rugeley Power Station site have been given the green light by two councils.

Cannock Chase and Lichfield District councils approved outline plans for the redevelopment of the 139 hectare (343.48 acre) site in January, but were asked to consider further proposals after a revised application was put forward by site owner ENGIE in May.

The changes include plans for an all-through school (ATS) for the site, which is also set to provide up to 2,300 new homes and up to five hectares (12.36 acres) of employment space.

The John Taylor Multi-Academy Trust, which already runs schools in Cannock Chase and East Staffordshire, has applied to the Department for Education for permission to create the All-Through-School which would offer education from nursery to Post-16 level. A decision is yet to be made on this application, but if it is turned down a two form entry primary school will be built and a contribution made towards secondary school provision off-site instead.

A report to Lichfield District Council’s planning committee said: “The primary differences between the resolved to grant application and that now for consideration, are relocation of the school site from within the local centre in Cannock Chase District to the north west of the site, to the centre of the site. The school would now sit wholly within Lichfield District.

“The ATS, which would be up to 3 storeys in height, would comprise a 52-place nursery, a two-form of entry primary school, a five-form of entry secondary school and Post-16 provision for up to 200 students, together with ancillary facilities including sports pitches/courts.

“The school is proposed on around 7.85 hectares of land, to the southeast of a proposed solar meadow and the to be retained 400 kV sub-station. The ATS would principally replace, from the resolved to grant scheme, an area of formal open space, including sports pitches and part of the solar meadow.

“In the event that the ATS does not come forward and school provision reverts to a two-form of entry primary school, this would remain located in the same parcel to the centre of the site, on approximately 2.5 hectares, with the balance comprising formal open space.”

Cannock Chase Council’s planning committee granted approval for the latest plans on July 22. Consent was given by Lichfield District Council’s planning committee on Monday.

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Cannock Chase councillor Alan Dudson said: “It is a massive undertaking but it’s also a benefit to Rugeley. Let’s get on with the work.”

Fellow committee member Councillor Paul Startin said: “I very much approve the inclusion of the all-through school.”

But members of Lichfield District Council’s planning committee questioned car parking for the school and connection between the new development and a nearby housing estate.

Councillor Jamie Checkland said: “The all-through school would have 1,600 pupils requiring 120 staff – that quite a sizeable car park. What consideration has been given to that? Staff to tend to travel some distance to get to a job.

Councillor Richard Cox said: “Broadly I welcome the use of a brownfield site. However I am not exactly pleased there is no connectivity to the existing housing development at Hawkesyard.”

Kerry Ashdown

By Kerry Ashdown

Local Democracy Reporting Service

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