Town village green application rejected on land earmarked for second school site

An artists impression of the second site at Brookfield Walk. Picture: Rio Architects

An artists impression of the second site at Brookfield Walk. Picture: Rio Architects - Credit: Archant

A proposal to stop a special school being built on a green space has been rejected.

The Mercury reported last week Clevedon Town Council and more than 150 people backed Jakobus Vanblerk’s application to list Brookfield Walk as a town green.

The land is owned by North Somerset Council and it has submitted plans to create a second site for Baytree School.

The council’s planning committee members refused the application for town green status at its meeting on August 19.

Cllr David Shopland asked for the proposal to be deferred for three months, but his request fell. He then moved to accept the application, going against officers’ recommendations, but this again fell.

Campaigners began to seek town green status in October after the town council voted to support the status application.

Baytree School has room for 72 pupils but increasing demand means more places are needed.

North Somerset said expanding Baytree at its site, in Locking Castle, is impossible, and looked for alternative sites, concluding Brookfield Walk was the best option.

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In May, a planning application was submitted to build the second site on Brookfield Walk. The site was whittled down from a shortlist of 528 alternative spaces.

MORE: Plans to build second school site revealed.

Advising North Somerset, Leslie Blohm QC said the land is held by the council for planning purposes, meaning it would be available for development, resulting in a ‘statutory incompatibility’ with the town green application.

The majority of people against the plans said they were in favour of providing additional special needs school places but wanted another location to be used.

The current school site, at The Campus, cannot expand its pupil numbers because its site is shared with Herons’ Moor Academy.

Plans include classrooms, a recreation hall, a dining hall, a hydro-therapy pool and therapy rooms, plus external play areas for pupils aged three to 19.

The second site for Baytree will be a single-storey building designed to integrate into the natural environment, with parking for 64 vehicles, landscaping and outdoor play facilities.

The move would see the number of places available for youngsters with special needs and severe and profound learning difficulties rise to 120.