Consent has been granted for a trust to build a Christian school in Rolleston up to year 8, but its application to double the roll within 10 years has been declined.
The Christian Schools Trust applied to the Selwyn District Council for resource consent for a school it proposed for up to 600 pupils from year 1 to 10, plus a pre-school for another 50.
Council planner Rachael Carruthers last month recommended it be declined, but commissioner Justine Ashley has allowed the first two stages of development catering for a roll up to 300.
The trust, which owns Middleton Grange, Aidenfield Christian and Ashburton Christian schools, has begun preparing for building to start on the integrated school once the appeal period is over in a few weeks.
Trust development manager Peter Marshall said the trust was feeling positive, despite its final stage being declined.
"We're not too uncomfortable with that because that development was likely to be 10 years down the track."
The time frame for completing the build before its planned January 2015 opening was "more than tight".
Stage one would start first, catering for 150 pupils up to year 8, six flexible learning spaces, and a house already on the site would be converted to an administration space.
Stage two would start in about two years, and depending on roll growth and funding, would allow an identical block catering for another 150 pupils and a preschool.
It would consider reapplying for the final stage at a later date, but it would have to coincide with a slow road the council was proposing to build at the Foster Recreation Park backing onto the school in the next 10 years, he said.
Ashley said in her final decision that stage three was declined "due to the lack of certainty surrounding potential traffic impacts on a future roading network". But it should be applied for again closer to the time, she said.
Rolleston Residents' Association chairman Paul McKay said the key concern for all new schools in the area was traffic, especially since there were already congestion problems with the existing schools. The association objected to the school plans to use the slow road as an access point, as a matter of safety.
Education Ministry spokeswoman Katrina Casey said it was considering the trust's application for a special character year 1 to 6 Christian school in Rolleston.
A site had been found for another secondary school in Rolleston scheduled to open in 2017, and the ministry was acquiring a site for the state primary school due to open in January 2016 in West Rolleston.
Construction would begin on both yet-to-be-named schools in 2015.
- The Press
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