THE site of a former primary school that was closed due to a lack of pupils will now welcome an 82-home development.

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning committee has given Galliford Try the green light for to build the homes at the former Handley Hill Primary School site, including 25 affordable houses.

Galliford Try had worked with the council on the project, and planning officers recommended it for approval ahead of Thursday’s meeting.

Katie Daniels, representing the developer, said: “The site is located in a sustainable and highly accessible location in Winsford, with good public transport locations.

“The site is also well located for existing local services – including shops, health and leisure facilities – and is allocated for a residential development within the Winsford neighbourhood plan.

“The development will positively contribute towards the supply of market and affordable homes within Winsford, and the proposals are in accordance with national and local policy.”

Sport England had objected to the scheme due to the loss of Handley Hill’s former playing pitch, while three residents also wrote to CWAC in opposition to the plans.

Neighbouring resident Neil Chapman told the committee that the traffic assessments carried out in the planning application was ‘inadequate’ and did not consider road use in Swanlow Lane and Beeston Drive.

He said: “I understand that all risks cannot be eliminated, but we must ensure that steps are taken as far as reasonably practical to ensure the safety of current and future residents, cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.”

But Paul Parry, highways officer at CWAC, insisted his team did not take the transport assessment ‘at face value’ – and he was satisfied that the application would not cause a ‘significant enough problem’ to refuse the plans.

Cllr Peter Rooney, Labour, said: “Looking at the plan – it’s very thoughtfully laid out, it’s not as dense as it could be, there is plenty of green space.

Winsford Guardian:

“I can’t see a problem. If it was once a school then there would have been a lot of traffic associated with that two times a day.”

The planning committee unanimously approved the plans.

NHS commissioners have requested £76,176 from the developer to help improve health services in Winsford.

Handley Hill closed its doors in 2009 after campaigners lost their battle to keep it open against the former Cheshire County Council, and the building was demolished in 2018.

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The school’s memorial garden – which commemorates brothers Joshua, Thomas, Callum and Daniel Young who were killed in 2003 – will be retained and enhanced as part of the development.