Step inside Designs of how new school may look
PLANS to build a £30million secondary school in the Leckhampton area of Cheltenham have taken a crucial step forward.
Gloucestershire County Council says it is needed to solve the problem of a lack of secondary school places in the town and has submitted a planning application to its own planning department.
It is the latest step in the process the council hopes will see the school built on two fields between Farm Lane and Kidnappers Lane in time to open in September 2021.
Images of the outside of the buildings had been put on display at two public engagement events in June but now for the first time, the authority has also shown how it wants the inside of the school to be.
An artist’s impression shows that the main entrance is planned to have a high ceiling, with drop-down lights and daylight coming in through several large panels of glass.
Another image reveals the open plan nature of a proposed student entrance area, which would have long tables and benches.
The development is part of the county council’s investment of £100million into schools.
It will be run by the Balcarras Academy Trust and will teach pupils aged 11-16.
The school will eventually hold 900 pupils, but entry will be phased so 120 pupils will join in Year 7 in September 2021 with a new Year 7 group joining at the beginning of each academic year.
Other artist’s impressions included in the application confirm those shown to the public in June.
The plans show classrooms and outdoor areas, including large grass playing fields, an artificial turf pitch, tennis courts, an outdoor area for table tennis, and a cafe with outdoor seating.
If the development is allowed, there will be a 450-seat main hall, parking space for 110 cars and space for 115 bicycles.
Officials say many of the existing trees and shrubs will be kept along the boundary, and a habitat area with a wildflower meadow and outdoor learning area within the school boundary will be created.
Education chiefs say the school will be built using textured brick with soft edges and colour variation to suit the local area, as well as timber panelling and metal cladding.
They say it has been designed with sustainability in mind and the materials have been chosen to compliment the natural surroundings of the site and reduce energy demand.
As the school is due to serve a very local population, more than 1.5km of footpaths and off-road cycle paths will be introduced or upgraded on key routes nearby to allow for direct walking and cycling links to the surrounding area.
The school will have a number of entrances for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as plenty of covered secure bike parking, to make it as accessible as possible to walk or cycle and reduce the impact of cars on the local area.
The site is set back off the A46 Shurdington Road, being behind what is known locally as ‘The Pig Field’ and former nurseries.
Some residents fear vehicles going to and from the school could worsen traffic jams on the busy road, which stretches between the town and the A417 and is often gridlocked at peak times.
Bosses say a review of the impact of the school on local roads has been undertaken, through a traffic simulation model to make sure that the development can be safely accommodated. The planning application is expected to go to the county council’s planning committee in November.
If approved, construction work will start on site in April 2020 and the school is due to open in September 2021.
A link to the application is available at planning.gloucestershire.gov.uk/ publicaccess/applicationdetails.do?activ etab=externaldocuments&keyval=pvt 9H0HN01600.
Artist’s impressions of how the interior will look