PLANS to build a huge new 900-pupil capacity high school on green belt land in Great Lever are set to be decided this week.

The Kings Leadership Academy is proposed to be built close to Freshfield Avenue and the Great Lever and Farnworth golf course.

The Royal Bolton Hospital site lies to the south of the area.

Plans submitted to Bolton Council by the Department for Education (DfE) describe ‘a secondary school which would be a free school for pupils aged 11-16 with approximately 900 students, with additional social spaces, external games areas and playing fields’.

The fact that the land is currently green belt is addressed by planning officers in a report to committe members but with the plans currently defined as inappropriate development.

However, the applicant has stated ‘very special circumstances’ for the proposed school and claims the benefits far outweigh any harm.

The report states: “The main benefit of the development will come from the provision of much-needed school places, which without the new school will leave a shortage of secondary school provision in the borough.”

If approved, the school will be mostly manufactured off-site in ‘modules’ and transported to the site in sections so disruption during the construction phase is minimised.

The school will be operated by Kings Leadership Academy which is currently operating from temporary accommodation at the former Hayward School site.

That school opened in 2019 and has two school years currently, with capacity to increase up to three school years, the temporary planning permission for that site will expire in 2022.

On opening, it had 173 children on its roll and the school’s ethos was to ‘give young people in Great Lever the opportunity to experience all the benefits of a public school education without the hefty price tag’.

The report adds that much of the propsed new site will also be open for community use.

It states: “The proposed school will have a community function, providing access to sporting facilities of the internal and external spaces.

“A separate community access is proposed and the school has been designed to allow zoning which will permit out of hours use of these facilities for the local community and sports groups.”

The design and access statement for the plans, states: “The site is currently comprised of open green fields and is used by dog walkers and horse riders.

“The sensitivities surrounding the site have been fully considered throughout the design development.”

Bolton Council’s planning committe will decide on the proposal at a meeting on Thursday (February 4.