THE proposed expansion of a school for children with special educational needs and disabilities has been recommended for refusal following an objection from Sport England. 

The county council is seeking permission to have new classrooms, a multi-purpose hall and a replacement storage building erected at Sandgate School’s satellite site in Appleby Road, Kendal.

But the project has run into difficulty over the plan to build on an area of land currently used as a playing field.

Non-departmental government body Sport England opposes the application on the grounds that no mitigation for the loss of part of the playing field has been suggested and the plans do not comply with any of the exceptions outlined in the organisation’s playing fields policy.

Among its comments is that there ‘is no evidence to suggest that the playing field is not needed’.

The plan for the school, submitted by Brian Durham, of Cumbria County Council, is to be scrutinised by a meeting of the district council’s planning committee on Thursday.

In a report produced ahead of the meeting, case officer Sonja Swift says: “Sport England are a statutory consultee on developments involving playing fields, with a specific policy remit to oppose the granting of planning permission for any development that would lead to the loss of, or prejudice the use of all, or part of, a playing field unless one or more of the five exceptions stated in its policy apply.”

Ms Swift says the applicant’s agent has pointed out the proposal includes a multi-use sports hall and is on ‘an area of playing field that is generally unused for outdoor physical education or a formally marked-out pitch’.

Sandgate School shares its satellite site campus with The Queen Katherine School (QKS) and, says Ms Swift, would retain use of QKS’s playing field and sports pitch facilities.

Ms Swift says that plans included with an application to the Department for Education calculated a loss of 3.5 per cent of field space.