Seal of approval for sixth form new special facility

New building: Hillside Specialist School
New building: Hillside Specialist School
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Autistic teenagers will no longer have to travel outside Lancashire for education, after a new sixth form building was approved in Longridge.

Lancashire County Council’s development control committee rubber-stamped plans for Hillside Specialist School in Ribchester Road, Hothersall, which currently only caters for 11 to 16-year-olds.

Michael Green

Michael Green

The council had already agreed funding of nearly £2m on the facility, which is now earmarked for opening in September 2014.

But the plans came in for criticism from Hothersall Parish Council, which is concerned about a lack of a waiting area for taxis transporting pupils.

A spokesman told the meeting: “We do not have a problem with the expansion of Hillside, it’s an admired and central part of the community.

“But we want more rigour and realism when addressing the issue of taxis.”

He added the school gates, which do not open until 9am, and remain closed until the end of the school day for safety reasons, were “the main problem”.

He said: “It’s totally unrealistic to expect taxis to arrive at exactly 9am, and if you did get 30 taxis arriving at 9am on the dot, it would be chaotic.”

The plans also include an extra 11 car parking spaces.

Coun Michael Green called for a shortening of the proposed travel plan consultation to one or two months. The full committee agreed to a two month period to assess traffic and travel implications.