Seashell Trust – New School Campus and Cross-Funding Project

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Seashell New 2 (1)

Location: Heald Green, Greater Manchester

Client:  Seashell Trust


  • New £50m school campus
  • 325-unit residential scheme for cross-funding


  • Complex Green Belt scheme involving a nationally significant very special circumstances case
  • Public inquiry
  • Secretary of State ‘Called in’ decision


  • Large scale new campus facility masterplan requirements
  • Complex funding case requiring major new enabling development
  • Controversial project with significant local objections
  • Large multi-disciplinary team
  • Major Public Inquiry

Summary of NJL Approach:

NJL provided early advice on the requirements for delivering this project through the most difficult set of planning tests, i.e. Green Belt. We scrutinised the client requirements in exceptional detail to try to understand and test whether there was a genuine case that could be argued for them before determining that they could proceed forward into the planning application process.

The case was scrutinised by Stockport MBC for nearly 2 years before, despite a recommendation for approval, being refused. NJL subsequently revived the case with the client team before embarking on an appeal and full Inquiry, with a successful outcome.

NJL co-ordinated the whole team to focus on the delivery of all technical work into the planning process through the application and Inquiry


Planning consent for the whole project was given by the Secretary of State in April 2020. The Inspector cited the thoroughness of the case put forward and agreed with the arguments put forward on every issue arising. This is now the most recent and definitive cross-funding case in the Green Belt in the country. NJL continue to advise Seashell on the process of now delivering the planning consent to provide this much needed new campus for children with the most complex needs in the country.