Project 

Cambian Group Specialist School

North Yorkshire

We successfully argued that a new specialist school in a countryside location would be entirely appropriate and would provide a much needed service.

We secured planning consent for a new specialist school in North Yorkshire. The school will accommodate up to 20 children, aged between 7 and 17, who have suffered trauma. Our planners worked closely with our communications team to engage with local councillors and explain the benefits of the proposals. We successfully argued that a new specialist school in a countryside location would be entirely appropriate and would provide a much needed service. Our application was unanimously approved at committee in July 2016.

When we were appointed to seek planning permission for the demolition of existing agricultural buildings and the erection of a specialist school, we knew we had a challenge on our hands. The countryside site was outside the settlement boundary, where development is largely resisted. Due to the nature of the use, we suspected that the proposals would attract significant public interest.

Our consultation activities included a meeting with a member of the local parish council, to discuss the proposals and visit a local nature reserve and conservation area, which is often used for educational purposes. A brochure providing further details about how the new school would operate was also prepared and distributed to nearby residents.

Through our careful and considered approach to consultation, the application did not attract any objections from local residents, and actually received the support of the Parish Council. During the application process, amendments were made to the scheme to address concerns raised by the Council’s Highways Department.

Although we secured a positive recommendation from officers, the application needed to be considered by the planning committee because it was a departure from local policy. 

We wrote to members ahead of the committee meeting, to provide further information about Cambian and the proposed school. We also prepared and delivered a speech at committee, on Cambian’s behalf, in support of the application. Having considered our application and the supporting information, members unanimously resolved to grant planning permission.

Pre-commencement conditions are still to be discharged, and it is likely Cambian will begin works in 2017.   

Summary of achievements

  • Preparation, submission and monitoring of planning application
  • Consultation with local residents and their elected representatives
  • Built a good relationship with council officers
  • Application was approved unanimously at planning committee