Disappointment as expansion is halted

Hayley Dancy with disappointed pupils at the Cats with Red Shoes Dance School, after plans to expand were refused.

Hayley Dancy with disappointed pupils at the Cats with Red Shoes Dance School, after plans to expand were refused.

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A DANCING school which helps underprivileged youngsters says it is “gutted” after it was refused permission to expand its premises.

The Cats with Red Shoes dance school, which is based in Highfield Road, South Shore, had planned to raise its roof and extend it building to accommodate more pupils.

But permission was turned down by Blackpool Council following objections from neighbours about noise and traffic congestion.

The school, which also teaches gymnastics and cheerleading, says it cannot grown or accommodate older children due to the limited space it has available.

Dance teacher Sandy Dancy, 53, who runs the school with her daughter Hayley, 26, said: “We were absolutely gutted.

“It just means it can’t grow and accommodate anymore people.

“The older ones would have to be taken to other places and they’d have to travel further afield but some parents can’t afford to take them.

“We do help a lot of underprivileged children but we need more space to keep children off the streets.

“We need a higher room because the children we have are getting older and they can’t do activities such as the asymmetrical bars.”

At present 120 children attend the school, including Kerry Hugh’s six-year-old daughter Mercedes.

Kerry, 34, who lives in Highfield Road, said: “I was not happy when I found out.

“A lot of friends of mine think it’s a really good idea and I don’t understand why it was turned down.

“The children are losing out.”

Lisa Graves’ five-year-old son Morgan also attends.

Lisa, 31 of St Leonard’s Road, Marton, said: “It’s a massive shame for them and quite upsetting because obviously it’s a local school.

“It’s got lots of services here.

“It’s very accessible for local kids and they really encourage them here too.

“It keeps Morgan healthy and that’s got him into doing physical skills from an early age. It’s a very community-supported club and at its best it’s great, they’ve spent a lot of money on it.”

The school has submitted amended plans, and more than 40 comments in support have already been published on Blackpool Council’s website.

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