PLANS to build a new classroom block at a Hyde school that opponents claim will be like ‘having a 30ft wall at the bottom of your garden’ have been given the go ahead.
But no work can start at Hyde Community College until a drainage report has been completed after reports of flooding in the area.
People living close to the building were dead against the construction of a two storey modular block, which would house another five classrooms, believed to be science laboratories, on the school’s western side.Claims it would reduce house prices because it would dominate and overlook them were made as councillors discussed the proposal.
Other arguments, put forward by objector Andrew White to Tameside Council’s Speakers Panel, included suggestions up to 60 spaces will be lost because of that and other buildings, rather than the 28 the authority believes.
And Gary Richardson, from the council’s highways department, suggested people visiting the site use alternative means of transport and parents do not drive to pick their children up.
Impact on the life of a young, ill girl who lives nearby was also put forward as a reason why it should not be given the go ahead.
Mr White said: “Building next to trees, large wooden fences and so close to houses is surely an accident waiting to happen.
“And would you want to live with the equivalent of a 30ft high wall at the bottom of your garden for the rest of your lives?
“Placing a two storey building, 20ft above our 8ft garden fence would give a combined 32 feet of height and 72 feet of width.
“This would significantly reduce light, sunshine and local house prices.
“The school’s west wide car park has already been elevated seven feet above the natural ground level, causing surface flooding to local houses over the last three years.
“50 per cent of our neighbours who received planning letters have objected, we consider this significant.
“The site plan is one of many inaccuracies. On the south side of the school, six modular buildings were erected more than a year ago. When this is combined with this plan, parking spaces will be reduced from 130 to 70.
“Children will also lose even more outdoor space, which is so vital at this present time. In 2017, the pupil number capacity was 940, these plans would increase that to 1,220.
“This plan is flawed throughout.”
Council chiefs did admit work had taken place – which Mr White said caused significant noise pollution – before it should have done and Paul Smith, the assistant director of strategic property, admitted an internal investigation into why contractors were on the site is taking place.
Martyn Leigh from Tameside Council, however, pointed out that proposed structure will be lower in height than the existing Old Road building.
The proposal, which will see the block constructed on what is part of the existing car park, was altered so no windows would be in the wall facing Snowdonia Way.
And before approval was given, Councillor Peter Robinson requested that any drainage or run off from the proposal does not affect the estate.
Councillor Helen Bowden also voiced concerns regarding noise and disturbance during the construction period.
A total of 26 objections were lodged with the council, with light, parking, a lack of consultation and flooding the main issues.
Mr White also claimed the building would only sit 21 metres from properties, even though a report states: “The separation distance between the proposed building and the rear elevation of residential properties on Snowdonia Way to the west of the site is approximately 23 metres.
“This separation distance is considered acceptable and in accordance with the Council’s Residential Design guidelines which in such circumstances would normally require a separation distance of 23 metres to be maintained.
“With regard to properties on Inkerman Street and Meadowfield Court, which are located to the south of the site and some two to three metres lower than the proposed building, the separation distance of over 30 metres.”
Mr Smith also revealed they had found the existing drainage on the site was blocked, which is believed to have caused flooding issues and repairs are being carried out.
He believes cleaning the drains will solve the problem and insisted the current modular buildings are temporary and were meant to have been removed until the Covid-19 outbreak and insisted the plan will not result in an increase in pupil numbers.
“We do not believe the plan is flawed,” he said.
All 12 members of the Speakers Panel voted to approve the application, on the proviso no work can begin until a drainage plan is agreed.