Work to demolish some of the old school buildings at Seashell Trust as part of £45m new campus development on the site in Cheadle Hulme has started.
A team of demolition experts rolled on to site at Stanley Road to start knocking down some of the old school buildings to make way for a new school and campus.
Charity chief executive and school principal Mark Geraghty said: “This is the first visible sign that things are changing at the Seashell Trust.
“It is an important milestone for the many children and young people with severe, complex and specialist needs who we care and educate.
“Our current buildings date back to the 1950s and are just no longer fit for purpose, so we desperately need a new school and to modernize the campus to be able to continue to provide outstanding care for our children and young people.”
The plan also includes an application for up to 325 homes on a part of the land owned by Seashell Trust between Wilmslow Road and the A34 at Heald Green.
The land is designated as greenbelt but, according to the trust, is a vital part of the overall viability of the scheme.
Mark added: “The new school and campus is going to cost £45m.
“We have tried to get that kind of funding from government capital funding initiatives but there is none available and we can’t raise all of that money on our own.”
The overall plan includes releasing part of some of Seashell Trust’s land to a housing developer which is expected to raise around £30m but the Trust will still need to find a further £15m to plug the funding gap.
Mark added: “This will be tough challenge but one we at Seashell Trust have planned for.
“We will be using some of our existing reserves, borrowing some money and relying on donations for at least £9m of the total money required.
“Without the housing and sale of the land, this scheme simply can’t go ahead and we desperately need these new facilities to be able to continue to provide support and education for our students, many of whom have profound and challenging special needs.
“There really is no Plan B – we need this scheme to guarantee the future of Seashell Trust.”
Outline plans for the development at Seashell Trust were submitted earlier this year and are expected to be considered by Stockport Council later this year.
The application includes a new school, high-quality recreational amenities, family support services and residential accommodation for students.