Baytree School expansion plan approved for Clevedon site
PUBLISHED: 13:51 23 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:50 30 September 2020
Controversial plans to expand a special school on greenbelt land in Clevedon have been approved.
Baytree School, in Weston, needs to expand to enable it to accommodate the increasing number of children with highly complex physical needs and learning difficulties.
Brookfield Walk, in Clevedon, was identified for the expansion, but the site provoked a number of objections due to its proximity to homes and the loss of greenbelt land.
Councillors approved the £12million project which will boost the number of places at Baytree School from 72-120.
Along with classrooms, dining and recreational halls, plans for new the facility include a hydrotherapy pool, therapy rooms and external play areas.
More than 1,000 people objected to the proposal and campaigners attempted to have the open space listed as a town green to protect it from development.
Speaking at North Somerset Council’s planning and regulatory committee meeting on September 16, Cllr Shopland said: “Not one of the objectors disputes the need for a school of this sort.
“We believe this is not the right site. There are other sites more suitable in the ownership of this council.”
The council-owned site in Brookfield Walk was selected from more than 500 options after an ‘exhaustive’ search.
Despite being in the greenbelt and at risk of flooding, planning officers said it was the ‘only viable option’.
Cllr Shopland added: “This is a matter for great public concern in Clevedon.
“Many residents believe this is an attempt to deprive them of a long-standing piece of open space.”
Supporters urged the council to approve the development and show its commitment to local children and young people with complex needs.
Baytree School, in Highlands Lane, is the only school in North Somerset for children with severe and profound learning difficulties.
There is no room to expand at the current site and the school buildings also cannot meet the increasing complexity of students’ needs.
The decision must now be referred to the secretary of state, who can either allow the council to go ahead and issue its decision or ‘call in’ the application and have a public inquiry.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the North Somerset Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.