Our school is currently undertaking a project of renovations and new builds to consolidate and improve the campus for current and future students. The project team would have liked to presented this scheme to the public face to face to hear your thoughts and feedback, however due the ongoing pandemic the scheme is being presented virtually below. Any feedback would be hugely appreciated and feedback forms can be found at the bottom of the page.
The reason for this development
The 3 sites which comprise Sidmouth Primary are currently located at some distance from each other. The site of the former St Nicholas Church of England Junior School, off Woolbrook road accommodates Key Stage 2 (KS 2) pupils. Manstone Avenue, formerly Sidmouth Infants School, accommodates Key Stage 1 (KS 1) pupils and Nursery. Some KS 1 and Early years, are located on the site of what was originally All saints Church of England Infants School, at Vicarage road.
The split site combined with the age of the building stock has created inefficiencies which have an impact on teaching and learning. These include:
- Excessive low-quality accommodation with many areas of the Building fabric in poor condition.
- Poor and inefficient distribution of building area over the sites.
- Insufficient or unsuitable accommodation.
- A revenue burden due to high maintenance liabilities and energy usage.
- Staff inefficiencies.
- Challenging timetabling.
The Academy has been granted funding for the project by central government to optimise the capacity of the School across two sites which will address many of the strategic issues which currently compromise the efficiency of the estate and the quality of the educational environment.
The project rationalises the arrangement of the school locating the Nursery, Reception and KS 1 pupils at Manstone Avenue in new and refurbished buildings with improvements to the external facilities at both the Woolbrook road and Manstone Avenue sites.
The main elements of the project are:
Manstone Avenue –
- Demolish the blocks to the west of the play area to make way for the construction of a new Hall, Staffroom, ancillary accommodation and Learning Resource Area.
- Refurbish part of the existing building creating an additional classroom.
- Construct a new two storey accommodation block to the south of play area containing: Nursery, Administration, 3 classrooms, ancillary accommodation and Learning Resource areas.
- Construct a new Music room to the east of the play area.
- New Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) with a 3G surface.
Woolbrook Road –
- New Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) with a 3G surface.
Town Planning issues
The East Devon District Council Planning Authority have been consulted and have confirmed that:
- The site lies within the built-up area boundary of Sidmouth, and does not lie within a Conservation Area.
- Development within built up area boundaries is considered appropriate development under Strategy 6 of the Local Plan, and specifically within Sidmouth under Strategy 26. The Woolbrook Road site is also designated for recreation. Policy RC1 of the Local Plan protects open space within this allocation against loss.
- Policy RC6 of the Local Plan permits extensions or alterations to existing community facilities provided they are compatible with the character of the site and not harmful to the amenity of local residents.
Amenity and overlooking
Care has been taken to ensure that the amenity of the adjacent buildings is not compromised by these proposals and that the design of the new buildings do not increase the opportunities for overlooking or privacy of the adjacent residential properties.
All new windows have been located so that they face away from the boundary or, as in the case of the new assembly hall, are at high level.
The view out of the upper storey windows of the new classroom block facing south will have views out restricted to the school play area using purpose designed louvres.
Where appropriate, and in consultation with the neighbours, additional timber boundary fencing or planting will be provided to reinforce the existing boundary.
The location of the Manstone Avenue site within a built-up residential area means that there currently is an inherent ability for the site to be accessed by sustainable modes, with an established network allowing for access by foot, cycle and bus. However, the relocation of the Vicarage Road site will likely result in some pupils living further away from their school, and therefore a key issue to address will be ensuring that sustainable journeys can still be undertaken.
A consideration when evaluating the transportation and travel impacts of a primary school is assessing the impact of drop off and pick up periods. At present, the school has only one access point via Manstone Avenue, which has restricted footway and carriageway width. We are considering potential improvements to the access point, including; giving greater priority to pedestrians, reducing potential conflict points and improving pedestrian desire lines. We are also investigating the current constraints to parking in the surrounding area during drop off/pick up, and determining a parking strategy to manage and minimise the impact of the proposals. We will be working closely with the School to develop a comprehensive Travel Plan which also considers the interaction with the Woolbrook Road site. The development of these schemes, alongside a sustainable access strategy, will aid in reducing the potential impact from vehicles during pick up/drop off.
The potential benefits of the amalgamation of the Vicarage Road School site catchment with Manstone Avenue School site will be explored, particularly in relation to sustainable travel. This includes exploring the increased walkability of the site due to the close proximity to the generally more densely populated area in the north of Sidmouth.
As schoolchildren are a particularly vulnerable highway user, extensive consideration will need to be given to the potential conflict between vehicles and pedestrians. Therefore, schemes such as Walking Buses and Park & Stride will be essential to develop in coordination with the School and Devon County Council’s Road Safety Officers. A commitment to these schemes, and other similar initiatives, will contribute towards not only delivering safe and suitable access, but also reducing any potential significant impact upon the operation of the local highway network or upon safety.
Soft and Hard Landscape
- A new surface treatment with some elements of soft landscaping is proposed to enhance the amenity and functionality of the courtyard space.
- To improve the versatility of the existing grass play area a Multi-Use-Games-Area (MUGA) with a 3G surface, and a new ball stop fencing of minimal recommended height of 3m will be provided.
- Enhanced species planting to the site and site’s boundary as part of mitigation works to replace lost habitat affected by the proposals, exact locations to be confirmed at later stage.
- Ecological enhancements, exact locations to be confirmed.
Woolbrook Road -
- Replacement of the existing grass play area with new 3G pitch and a new ball stop fencing of minimal recommended height of 3m and new retaining walls to its boundary.
An ecological survey has been undertaken which identifies key constraints as well as opportunities to avoid, mitigate and enhance key ecological features. The proposals have been designed to minimise the impact on the existing ecological features and where possible compensate for any degradation of the sites ecological value.
Drainage, surface water and flooding
The redevelopment/refurbishment proposals will be served by amendments to the existing drainage and the new-build areas will be served by a private foul drainage network which will connect to the existing private site drainage.
The disposal method for surface water produced from the proposed extensions will be carried out in accordance with the Devon County Council Sustainable Drainage Design Guidance, where SuDS should be introduced, following the hierarchy:
1. Discharge into the ground (infiltration).
2. Attenuation system with discharge to a surface water body (watercourse).
3. Attenuation system with discharge to a surface water sewer, highway drain, or other drainage system.
4. Attenuation system with discharge to a combined sewer.
The onsite layout and topography have been designed to accommodate and route exceedance surface water runoff from the site into existing or equivalent overland escape routes so that this too will not increase onsite or offsite risk of flooding.
According to the EA’s mapping (see Figures 5 & 6) the sites are at the following risk from possible surface water exceedance events:
- Woolbrook – a small area on the north west elevation of the main building is at high risk with the remainder of the site at very low risk
- Manstone Avenue – the site is at all levels of risk with a small area on the northern elevation at high risk. The remainder of the site is in medium, low and very low areas.
The impact of the construction on residents of school users in terms of safety and nuisance has been considered in the design of the project. A solution which maximises off-site construction has been selected to minimise site traffic and length of the construction period.
The school will be closed during the period of construction to ensure the safety of school users and to minimise traffic movements to and from the site. Construction traffic will be managed to minimise the impact on the existing road infrastructure and working times limited to reduce any nuisance to the neighbouring properties.
The target dates are:
Planning submission – March 2021
Construction start date – September 2021
Construction completion and date of occupation – July 2022