PLANNERS will decide if a Huddersfield school will be able to educate more international children.
Rastrick Independent School has asked Calderdale Council for permission to build two dormitory blocks for young people from around the world who wish to sample English life.
Dozens of children from countries including Colombia, Russia, Italy, Turkey and Spain spend time at the school each year while staying at various sites in the area.
But headmistress Susan Vaughey would like to set up two dormitory blocks, allowing the school to take more international students.
Calderdale’s Planning Committee will rule on the proposal at a meeting tomorrow.
Three residents have written to the council opposing the new building, while Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker has backed the proposal.
Mrs Vaughey explained that the school worked with children from different countries.
“We currently have 20 Spanish students and two staff and we’re waiting for some Italians to arrive,” she said.
“They come for a short stay and we offer them academic excellence and the British experience. We promote Yorkshire and we also take them to places like Edinburgh and to London.”
The international students currently stay with families in the area, at the University of Huddersfield or at Bradley Wood Jubilee Centre.
Mrs Vaughey said that the two dormitory blocks would allow young visitors to stay longer.
“It could be the case that they come for a term, or one year, or two years as boarders,” she said.
The dormitory blocks would have space for 22 boarders and would be located to the northeast of the main school building.
The school won planning permission last year to build two classroom blocks next to the site of the proposed accommodation.
Mrs Vaughey believes the development would benefit Rastrick.
“It’s not going to interfere with anyone at all and it’s providing a service, as well as jobs for the local community,” she said.
“I think that any concerns about the development are unfounded. We’re good neighbours, the children are well-behaved and they don’t cause any trouble.
“It would be sad if this plan doesn’t go through.”
Three residents have written to Calderdale objecting to the plan.
They claim the development would:
Harm the listed buildings Castle Hill House and Whitegate House.
Lead to loss of wildlife habitat.
Mean an increase in noise.
Have an impact on bats which live in the area.
Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker has written to the council backing the plan.
“This creates a wonderful opportunity to build on an already successful educational establishment with a very high reputation locally, nationally and internationally,” wrote the Conservative.
“I am aware that the highways department have no issues with the proposed development and I feel it may actually alleviate some of the traffic issues as there will be a number of students boarding who will not require picking up and dropping off of a morning and an evening.”
The council’s planning committee will rule on the proposal at its monthly meeting at Halifax Town Hall to be held tomorrow.
Rastrick Independent was previously known as Rastrick Preparatory and Nursery School.
Some 632 children aged up to 18 are currently educated at the Ogden Lane site.