New special educational needs school could be built in Newbury Park
- Credit: Archant
A new special educational needs school for up to 64 pupils may be built in Newbury Park if a planning application is green lit.
The secretary of state for education has submitted an application to demolish a disused canteen at William Torbitt Primary School, in Eastern Avenue, and replace it with a special educational needs and disability (SEND) facility for children aged two to seven.
The new school – which will be named Hatchside – will be part of the Astrum Multi Academy Trust, who runs Newbridge Lower School, in Gresham Drive, and Newbride Upper School, in Barley Lane.
“[It] will cater for pupils with severe learning difficulties and a range of complex needs including autism spectrum disorders, social, emotional mental health (SEMH) communication difficulties and medical needs,” according to planning documents.
A statement on the trust’s website from chief executive Louise Parr says: “Our vision is to create a partnership of outstanding special schools to support the special needs community in Redbridge and the surrounding area to offer excellent opportunities for pupils and their families.”
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The two-storey school is proposed to have eight classrooms – four for nursery students and four for primary pupils – with associated sinks, medicine storage, bathrooms and storerooms.
It will also include a dining hall, kitchen, soft play area, speech and language therapy room, sensory room and a physiotherapy room.
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Around half of pupils are anticipated to be wheelchair users and a wheelchair storage room is included in the plans, including
The report describes the existing canteen as “overgrown” and “unused”, except for as additional storage space for William Torbitt’s groundsman’s shed and as “unofficial parking”.
A public consultation event took place on January 10 this year attended by 10 people, including the caretaker and two residents from Torbitt Way.
It was attended by representatives from the Department of Education (DfE), the academy trust and from Rock Townsend Architects among others.
“Residents were concerned about the development impacting their amenity with regard to parking, overlooking and noise,” according to the document.
But it adds: “Many of the local residents’ concerns related to the construction works rather than the operational phase.”
The application can be viewed on the council’s planning portal (ref: 0985/19).