Step inside De­signs of how new school may look

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - Robin JENK­INS robin.jenk­[email protected]­

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.glouces­ter­ pub­li­cac­cess/ap­pli­ca­tion­de­­tiv etab=ex­ter­nal­doc­u­ments&key­val=pvt 9H0HN01600.

Artist’s im­pres­sions of how the in­te­rior will look

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