Families welcome autism school plan
PLANS for a special school for children with autism have been unveiled.
The planned development at the former Church Lawton Primary School site could cater for up to 60 youngsters with autism spectrum conditions (ASC).
Church Lawton residents and parents of children with ASC were invited to view the plans at a consultation event yesterday.
Cheshire East currently has no schools specifically tailored for children with ASC.
Many of these youngsters are in mainstream schools, while those with severe learning difficulties are taught in special schools in Crewe and Macclesfield.
Cheshire East Council currently spends £3.4 million on sending children with ASC to schools outside the borough.
The council expects to make "considerable savings" by developing its own ASC-specific school.
The proposed site, in Cherry Tree Lane, Church Lawton, has been disused since 2009, when the primary school closed due to lack of pupils.
Some residents welcomed the plans to bring the site back into use.
Raymond Yates, aged 68, of Brattswood Drive, Church Lawton, said: "I think it's brilliant that they want to build a special school. When the primary school was open we had problems with parking, as the roads are quite narrow. But with this school there will only be 60 cars at the most.
"I'm sure the community in Church Lawton will support this school. I think it's an ideal location for a school like this."
But other residents believe there will soon be a need for new mainstream primary schools in the area.
Anne Mitchell, aged 69, of Cherry Tree Lane, said: "We've got no problem with a special school being built here. But they're going to be building around 500 homes within a short distance of this site soon.
"Presumably the people moving in will have children, and all of the primary schools we have in the area are full now. This site could be brought back into use as a mainstream school."
The proposed school would cater for children aged between four and 19, with separate buildings for secondary and primary pupils.
A spokesman for the council said: "The existing special schools in Crewe and Macclesfield are not ASC specific. The provision is for children with severe learning difficulties and profound multiple learning difficulties. Therefore the new school will cater for children who do have ASC but don't have severe learning difficulties.
"The authority currently has about 250 youngsters with a statement of ASC and we estimate about 60 to 75 will fall into this category based on current figures."