THE first major battle in the push to redevelop Ilkley Grammar School is under way, as blueprints for rebuilding the school in Ben Rhydding are opened up for public consultation.
Almost six months after plans for a state-of-the-art new school building on land off Wheatley Lane were turned away by Bradford Council officers, awaiting more detailed information, an outline planning application to build the new school in Ben Rhydding is being studied by planners.
Just weeks ago, a ‘scoping’ planning application for the development of a new school building on agricultural land south east of Wheatley Grange Farm was submitted to Bradford Council.
Now plans submitted by Integrated Bradford, a school-building partnership involving Bradford Council, have been validated by the council’s planning department, and the public planning process can finally begin.
Members of the public can inspect the plans at Ilkley Town Hall, and make representations to Bradford Council on the proposed development.
The proposed site of the new school is on farm fields off Wheatley Lane, close to the railway line. The 31.82 hectare site is currently used for grazing livestock from the nearby farm and riding centre.
Dozens of documents and studies accompanying the complex planning applications are at Ilkley Town Hall, and they can also be viewed online at planning4bradford.com.
Funding for the rebuild, if planning permission is granted, is expected to come from the multi-million pound third phase of Bradford’s Building Schools for the Future scheme.
Supporters of the scheme are keen to see the school expanded to provide modern facilities for its students on one site, as well as enough room to alleviate competition for schools places.
Concerns are already being heard about the proposed new site, particularly concerns about a large increase in traffic on and around Wheatley Lane, and the impact of the large development on roads and homes nearby.
The planning application is accompanied by detailed environmental and traffic studies. A total of 203 parking spaces are proposed on the site. The school currently has 93 employees, says the plan, but if the application is granted, there would be 119.
The rebuilt school would support 1,950 pupils by 2018, according to documents accompanying the planning application.
Ilkley Parish Council, which was preparing to study the scoping application for the new school, plans to hold a special meeting to discuss the school rebuild, at Ilkley Town Hall on January 18.
Bradford Council’s executive member for children’s services and education, Addingham councillor Michael Kelly (Con, Craven), welcomed the progress in the plans to rebuild the school.
He said: “I’m delighted now that the plans are on display, that the Ilkley public will have their opportunity to see the interpretation of the Ilkley Grammar School vision for the future.
“I’m fully behind the idea of getting a brand, spanking new school, fit for purpose for young people today.”
Ilkley Parish Council is already urging members of the community to make their views known about the proposals.
Shipley architects firm Halliday Clark has worked on the design with staff, pupils and the school’s leadership team. The firm has drawn up a modern design which it says will minimise the impact on the surrounding landscape has been drawn up.
The design features two and three-storey ‘circulation fingers’ fanning out from a central courtyard area. The company is also working on other school rebuild projects as part of BSF Phase Three.
The plan is being studied by council planning officers of the Bradford-based major development team, the same team that earlier this year examined the two planning applications by supermarket chain Tesco.
Ilkley Parish Council plans committee chairman, Coun Andrew McKie, confirmed that the council plans to hold a special planning meeting at Ilkley Town Hall to discuss the scoping applications, and potentially the outline plan too, in January.
The parish council is one of the statutory consultees over planning applications, and can make recommendations to Bradford Council.