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A NEW education campus with two schools and a host of other community facilities at Cranbrook has been given the thumbs-up – and it should be open within two years.
East Devon District Council has approved a planning application for Devon County Council’s proposal for a secondary school and a second primary school in the new town. The schools are scheduled to open by September 2015.
The agreed application proposes construction of a 420 place primary school and a 1,000 place secondary school in a three-storey building with flexible and changeable space that will adapt as the new community grows.
It forms a key part of Phase 2 of the new community. As an Academy School the education campus will be run by an education provider to be selected through a process resulting in Devon County Council making a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Education. The new campus will cater for children from Early Years through to 16.
Devon County Council's Head of Education, Sue Clarke, said: “We have always insisted that the education facilities for the new community are ready for the families as they move in. St Martin's Primary School is already growing and thriving under the leadership of head teacher Tania Beard. We can now get on with completing our vision for top quality education for a sustainable Cranbrook, right from the youngest children through to secondary school students.”
It is likely that the full shell of the entire primary and secondary school will be built in a single construction phase although the internal fit out will be staggered to accommodate the community as it expands. The design of education campus also allows sufficient space for the future building of a 200 place University Technical College (UTC).
The approved plans also include multi-use sports areas with hard and soft surfaces, sports playing fields and an artificial turf sports pitch. East Devon District Council has been working with the developers to achieve the best internal layout for sports provision at the school taking full account of Devon County Council’s educational needs and recognition of their fixed budget, so that it can also be used by the community.
Following comments on the application, East Devon District Council has now secured further amendment to the layout of the proposed internal sports provision including the provision of a PE Office that is capable of being used by a community sports operator, reconfiguration of changing room facilities and provision of additional disabled parking provision closer to the sports hall. East Devon District Council is satisfied that these changes will help to make the building as attractive as possible for the school or another provider to run as an out of hours community sports facility.
Councillor Paul Diviani, Leader of East Devon District Council, said: “We have always said that we wanted Cranbrook to become a vibrant community with all the facilities residents would expect – and to have many of these in place from an early stage. I’m thrilled to see that our vision is taking shape right before our eyes. This new campus will be up and running within two years, keeping pace with the arrival of more and more lucky residents.
“The education campus will indeed complement the existing primary school. But it will be much, more than somewhere for the young people of Cranbrook to study and learn. It will be a focal point where all sections of the community can come together for education, leisure and sports activities and somewhere that meets the needs of a changing community and its growing families”.
Like all buildings at Cranbrook, the school building in the education campus will be aiming for a high level of sustainability, a level of BREEAM 'Very Good'. To achieve this, the building has been designed to promote natural lighting, passive ventilation, and it will be connected to the E.on Energy Centre.
Mike Owen, Project manager for Cranbrook on behalf of the Consortium said “The Development Partners (Hallam Land, Persimmon Homes and Taylor Wimpey Homes) are delighted that we have secured consent for the Education Campus and see this very much as the vanguard to open up phase two of the development and to continue to enhance the amenities at the heart of the new town of Cranbrook.”
The education campus is the first of a series of applications which East Devon District Council is expecting to receive this year for Phase 2 of the development. Funding support for phase two has been provided with a £20m investment from the Homes and Communities Agency’s Local Infrastructure Fund which is set up to support major projects like Cranbrook. Of this investment, £6m will be used to deliver the roads and infrastructure needed to develop a new town centre, with the remaining funds supporting the construction of the new secondary school and the second primary school.
Ian Knight, HCA Head of Area, said: “The fantastic new community taking shape at Cranbrook is vitally important for people who live and work in Devon. The schools supported by our investment are vital elements of the new community and will help accelerate the pace of building of new homes in the second phase of the project. This is great news for the local area and the economy, which stands to benefit from the huge investment and benefits that Cranbrook will bring to the area.”
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