Sunday, 10 November 2013

Teaching block plan for Arden

PLANS have been submitted for a three-storey teaching block on a playground at Arden school.


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The school is seeking Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council permission for the extension to the school, to demolish an existing store.

The development – with 13 classrooms and six studios for the school and sixth form  – is needed to take increasing pupil numbers from next September, the school said.

Figures provided by Arden show school pupils fell from 1,219 in August 2012 to 1,208 this August and are expected to be 1,205 next September.

But the sixth form will go from 279 to 318 to 375 over those three dates.

The planning applicationsays: “The hard standing is an underutilised space and is seldom used as a play area by pupils.

“It is occasionally parked on by a small number of staff for the convenience it offers. This reduces the walk to the allocated parking spaces adjacent to the sports hall, regularly leaving it half empty.”

It adds: “It is set well back from Station Road and therefore will not significantly alter the appearance of Arden Academy to passers-by.”

The development would cut the number of rooms in use from 100 per cent to 85 per cent, meaning it could take out “unsuitable” rooms in the humanities block.

It says: “The very high utilisation of existing accommodation obliges all curriculum areas to maintain full class group sizes and severely limits curriculum flexibility.”


Parking will be reconfigured so spaces remain at 148.

Some 64 people attended two consultation sessions at the school in September and included messages of support including the “important benefits this will bring to the school and the teaching environment”.

Yet there were also concern about the impact on house prices – which cannot be used as a reason by the council to reject the plan –  and extra traffic from more pupils.

It is likely the application will be decided by the council’s planning committee at a date to be fixed.

View the application and leave comments by clicking here and entering 2013 and 1719 in the two boxes.

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1 comment:

  1. As the projected increase in numbers is for the Sixth Form, then the extension should come in that area. (I am sceptical as to how they reached the one hundred extra sixth formers.) The area provided for pupils has not increased over the years, despite the huge increase in numbers. Yes, there is the all weather pitch, but what happens when house matches or clubs want to use it? There is no point moaning about classrooms being full! Who decided to make the school so large anyway? I expect it comes down to money as always, as schools are paid by numbers. Why not just bite the bullet and go for a new school! It would save further money being wasted.
    An interesting point would then arise: who would pay for it? The school was handed the buildings (any compensation for the council and ratetpayers?). Would they then also claim ownership of the land?