BOWDON C of E Primary School is to be demolished and replaced with a new £5.5 million two-storey facility – with capacity for 200 extra pupils – following approval from planning chiefs.

The council received 227 objections to the proposal and numerous residents attended the August 14 planning committee meeting to indicate their discontent, but members voted unanimously in favour of the application.

However, 138 letters were also received in support of the scheme, which has divided opinion.

As part of the development, an additional vehicular access point will be created, forming part of a new internal access road which aims to ease traffic congestions during pick up and drop off times.

A new multi-use games area and all weather pitch will be built, while the two existing grass pitches, cricket wickets and running track will be retained within new security fencing.

Sport England had originally objected to the scheme due to fears the new fence would restrict access to users of the field's facilities, including Bowdon Sports Club.

However, the organisation withdrew its objection prior to the meeting on the assurance that safe community access to the facilities is guaranteed.

Despite the public body withdrawing its objection, David Cranmer, of Bowdon Sports Club, spoke against the proposal at the August 14 meeting, as did ward councillor, Dr Karen Barclay.

Cllr Barclay said increasing the school's student roll by a third will have a severe impact upon traffic and initiatives such as walking buses are not practical in winter months.

However, school governor, Dr Julia Dow, said: "Walking buses are suitable even in rain, I lead one myself ."

She further argued the development was necessary because 'the school hall is less than half the size that's needed' and stated that 'traffic problems, we believe, are over-stated'.

Opening the debate, committee member, Cllr Laurence Walsh, said he had 'every sympathy for the residents', but:: "The council has a statutory duty to provide school places for school children, despite problems that may cause."

Cllr Philip Gratrix said: "I've got to say, that school needs something doing to it. It isn't fit for purpose."

All committee members voted in favour of the application, excluding Cllr Barclay who withdrew from the vote in order to oppose the application.