Two schools are to be built in Hove after planning permission was granted yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 13 September).
The King’s School will move from its present temporary premises in High Street, Portslade, to the site of West Blatchington Primary and Nursery School, in Hangleton Way.
King’s – a Church of England free school – is rapidly outgrowing the Portslade site where it opened four years ago.
And almost 400 children at West Blatch will get a new school as part of the deal with the Education and Skills Funding Agency which funds new buildings for free schools and academies.
The children at West Blatch are also being taught in outdated buildings including one dating from the 1950s and a number of ageing standalone classrooms.
West Blatch said: “The construction will occur in one phase and the existing buildings demolished once the school moves into the new building at the end of 2018.
“The new building will enable the school to be truly inclusive, with all year groups, including the nursery and Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) unit, housed under the same roof.
“The modern and efficient building, designed to inspire and instil pride across the whole school community, will empower the school to deliver the highest quality of education in a stimulating environment for many generations to come.
“The school is proud of its specialisms in music, physical education and the pastoral care we provide.
“The new state of the art school building will house a dedicated music room, a music practice room, fully equipped cookery room, ICT suite, sports hall and performance hall.
“A library sits at the heart of the school on each floor, promoting the school’s love of reading (and) the much-loved wildlife garden will be retained in its existing position.
“The development of the West Blatchington site will bring enormous opportunities for the school to further strengthen its role within the community.
“The plans have been carefully devised to offer opportunities for community usage and rental of school facilities including the two halls, meeting room and cookery room.”
West Blatch head Rachel Simmonds said: “As head teacher, I am delighted with the Planning Committee’s decision.
“I am very proud of our school community and its achievements. The new build will enable West Blatchington Primary and Nursery School to be at the forefront in providing the highest quality education and opportunities for both pupils and the wider community.”
Philip Worsfold, who chairs the governors, said: “The new building means state-of-the-art facilities for current and future pupils at West Blatchington to help them thrive. It is a very exciting moment for the whole school community.”
In a joint statement, Russell Education Trust chief executive Karen Lynch, Katherine Laux, chair of governors at King’s, and the school’s head Sarah Price, said: “We are delighted that planning permission has been given for the building of a new school for King’s and for a new building for West Blatchington Primary School on the Hangleton site.
“We are rapidly outgrowing our current temporary accommodation in Portslade and are looking forward to taking possession of the new facilities in summer 2019.
“We are pleased that we will be able to continue to serve the community and to meet the needs of our students for many years to come in suitable accommodation which will include an indoor sports hall, outdoor sports pitch and multi-use games areas, state of art technology and science rooms and fantastic general classrooms.”
The plans were approved unanimously by the Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Committee at Hove Town hall yesterday.
One of the Hangleton and Knoll ward councillors, Tony Janio, addressed the committee.
Councillor Janio, leader of the opposition Conservative group, said: “This school is desperately needed. However, all of this good work could be undone by the traffic chaos. There will be 1,000 extra pupils twice daily.
“Not enough attention has been paid to the transport solutions at the new school.
“Hangleton Way is already extremely dangerous at school drop-off and pick-up times.
“I ask for a zebra crossing there twice a year but it fails the test because the road is only heavily used twice a day.”
He said that an estimated 2,446 extra trips a day would be generated and added: “You can tell how worried council officers are about the potential impacts as they are throwing £270,000 of ‘section 106’ money at the so-called sustainable transport solutions.”
Section 106 money comes from developers to offset the effects of their schemes.
Councillor Janio said that he was not convinced that sustainable travel plans were ever 100 per cent successful.
He added: “This is a school. We can’t afford to be 95 per cent successful. If this doesn’t work, that’s children’s lives at risk.
“Just two days ago I received an email saying that further double yellow lines may be required to accommodate ‘safe crossing points’.
“This has not been thought through thoroughly.
“I am a very big supporter of this but the developer needs to meet with residents to sort out transport solutions.”
Karen Tipper, from the Education and Skills Funding Agency, told the Planning Committee that the plans would mean a modern school for West Blatch – getting rid of unsightly and outdated temporary accommodation.
For King’s, she said, this would end the long search for permanent premises – and would not undermine plans for a new secondary school in Toads Hole Valley.
She added: “The development will result in the loss of some grass playing field but … this is the most effective use of the site.”
Committee members Councillor Michael Inkpin-Leissner and Councillor Lynda Hyde criticised Sport England for its objection to the plans.
Councillor Inkpin-Leissner said that the loss of some of the school’s current extensive playing fields would be outweighed by the benefit of the new sports facilities on the site – indoors and outdoors.
Councillor Hyde added: “The gain is so much more than the loss on this site.”