Chorley special needs school to get replacement classroom

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A school in Chorley for children with special educational needs has been given the go-ahead to replace a classroom block which had to be demolished.

Astley Park School, on Harrington Road in the town, was forced to flatten the building when it emerged its safety could not be guaranteed for the coming academic year.

Members of Lancashire County Council’s development control committee voted to approve the new block, after the school’s headteacher said more than twenty children were currently being taught in rooms designed for food technology lessons.

Kieran Welsh described the situation as “quite a challenge for us and the children”.

“It isn’t ideal, especially given the complex nature of our children’s learning, behavioural and social needs,” Mr Welsh said. “It really is imperative to get this classroom in situ as soon as possible.”

The committee heard that the new building - which will house two classes, each containing eleven children - will take up a slightly larger area than the classrooms it replaced, but will be more than a metre lower in height.

New regulations governing access for children with special needs meant the block could not be replaced on a like-for-like basis.

Mr. Welsh said the school was “mindful” of its neighbours and hoped that the new classrooms would offer a more attractive outlook than those they replaced.

“The previous [building], despite us trying to put some floral decor around it, was actually becoming an eyesore. This building will actually look better - hopefully, our neighbours will agree.”

The meeting also heard that the new block would not be used to increase the capacity of the school.

Committee member, Steve Holgate, said that the construction process needed to be “well thought through” to prevent traffic congestion in an area which is already “not ideal”.

Planning officer, Jonathan Haine, said the “modular” nature of the building meant that it was unlikely “to generate large numbers of HGVs”.

“And I think the school would wish to ensure that [construction] traffic didn’t conflict with [busy] times when parents and taxis were dropping children off,” Mr. Haine said.

The application was approved unanimously.