CHILDREN could be forced to learn away from their own communities if schools are not given the support they need, a rural councillor has warned.

Cllr Andrew Kolker is one of two Cheshire East Council members for Dane Valley – including Holmes Chapel, Cranage and Goostrey.

While debating a planning application for 55 homes in Winterley on Wednesday, he suggested that schools that are given funding from developers are sometimes unable to use that cash effectively.

The Conservative said that if schools are unable to use the money to provide additional places for children, then families will not be able to send their youngsters to nearby schools.

He said: “The education department put forward a requirement for S106 money [developer contributions], but unless there’s a strategy to spend that money and a discussion with the schools, then it won’t necessarily yield any more places.

“And unless you can yield places then parents with an expectation that children who move into these new houses will be able to take part in the community in which they live and go to a local primary school – which I really don’t think is unreasonable – they will be sadly disappointed.

“I think this is coming to pass more and more actually when you have new developments within communities, the expectation that those children will be able to participate within those communities is being lost.

“So I would expect there to be not just a requirement for S106 money, but some kind of strategy with the schools to actually provide the places that are required.”

Gareth Taylerson, planning officer at CEC, agreed with Cllr Kolker – but looked to reassure him that the council does work with schools to provide a scheme for additional classroom places.

“We have to provide a scheme in mind of where that money is going to be spent,” he said.

“If education can’t come up with the scheme, then potentially in five years’ time – or whatever the trigger point is – we would have to give that money back.”