Green light for 121 homes on historic school grounds

Plans for the school development

Hillcrest Homes has received planning consent for a new development of 121 luxury homes on The King’s School’s Cumberland Street campus in Macclesfield.

The King’s School’s Cumberland Street campus is widely considered ‘the jewel in the crown’ in the 500-year old independent school’s extensive estate and is home to the oldest of its buildings.

Approval was granted following an intensive three-year period of consultation and collaboration with the Strategic Planning Board, Cheshire East Council’s Planning Officers, local residents and other interested groups, including The War Memorial Trust.

Over that period, Hillcrest has carefully refined its proposals to take on board comments from all stakeholders.

A total of 121 homes will now be delivered on the six-acre site, a combination of the sensitive retention and conversion of the site’s listed and most historic buildings and new-build bespoke homes and apartment buildings.

A 19th century Grade II-listed building, formerly the main school and now a library, will be restored and converted into seven two-bed homes with mature private and communal gardens. A 19th century Grade II-listed gatehouse will be restored and converted into a three-bedroom detached home and an early 20th century main school building, built in the neo-classical style, will be converted into 29 one- and two-bedroom apartments, including duplexes, with a contemporary style extension added to the rear and an underground car park.

The remainder of the campus, along with the school’s Percyvale Science Block and a prefab maintenance building on Pownall Street, will be cleared to create 33 new high quality homes ranging from two-bedroom detached properties designed as modern renditions of alms houses, to contemporary three- and four-bedroom mews, semi-detached and detached homes.

Within the development will be 45 one- and two-bedroom ‘Later Living’ apartments aimed at, and crafted specifically for, downsizers and empty-nesters.

Furthermore, the war memorial cricket pavilion will be retained and relocated within the site and transformed into two, two-bedroom affordable homes.

Hillcrest will retain the school’s perimeter stone walls, its ornate iron ‘Gates of Remembrance’ and a large proportion of the central cricket pitch, which will be landscaped into a high quality ‘park green’.

For the first time in the school’s history, its green open spaces will be accessible to the public and will be designed to encourage social interaction, relaxation and contemplation.

Richard Fee, investment director and chairman at Nikal, the parent company of Hillcrest Homes, said: “The King’s School’s Cumberland Street campus is a cherished landmark within Macclesfield and has been an important part of the town’s landscape and identity for many generations.

“We’ve worked tirelessly over the last three years to develop a residential scheme that honours this relationship and preserves the site’s most treasured buildings and vistas whilst creating a sustainable new development of high quality homes for individuals and families at all life stages.

“The end result stems from close collaboration with the Strategic Planning Board, local council planning department, The War Memorial Trust and local residents. At each stage we’ve taken on board feedback and refined our plans.

“We’ve increased the volume of affordable units, increased parking and have found a viable solution that allows us to retain and restore the cricket pavilion war memorial, and ensures its long-term preservation.”

He added: “It is a complex site and development will not be without its challenges, but we are excited to have created a vision that meets the approval of the Strategic Planning Board and clears the path for progression.”

Hillcrest worked with Project3 Architects, Exterior Architecture and Avison Young planning team on the application.

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