Belmont Special School in Cheltenham
Plans are underway to provide the children and young people who attend this popular special school with some additional classroom accommodation. Early in 2020 Gloucestershire County Council began working closely with the governors over the design and location for some additional classroom space. The school is one of the academies in the Supporting Achievement and Nurturing Development (SAND) Multi Academy Trust and has the capacity to support 156 children and young people with complex special educational needs and disabilities. Typically the pupils who attend the school have Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD) but over time the school has admitted pupils with additional and more complex needs and additional space is required for more individualised intervention work.
The additional accommodation will be ready for the pupils to move in to in September 2021 and is funded from the commitment made by Gloucestershire County Council’s Cabinet members in June 2020 to allocate an additional £3m to improve facilities in Gloucestershire’s special schools.
Planning approval was required for this work and detailed plans were submitted in December 2020 in order to seek planning consent. The school arranged for local residents and other interested stakeholders to engage with the plans ahead of the submission of the application for planning consent. Neighbouring properties received a letter in November 2020 explaining the proposals and providing details of how to view the proposed plans. In the context of the ongoing COVID-19 situation this approach was taken as an alternative to holding a face to face engagement event. Formal comments were invited and planning approval was subsequently given in February 2021. The approved plans, along with the decision notice and details of any conditions can be viewed on the GCC Planning Portal: https://planning.gloucestershire.gov.uk/publicaccess/
Immediate neighbours received a further update letter from the contractors in March 2021.
Images of work done so far
View the proposed designs
Please note that aspects of the design may change between the current design and engagement phase and the formal application for planning being submitted later in November 2020. These are provided to enable an early indication of what will likely form the basis of an application for planning consent.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is planning approval required?
Yes, planning approval is required for the additional accommodation. Detailed plans were submitted in December 2020 in order to seek planning consent and the scheme was given planning approval in February 2021.
When will construction work commence?
Work will start in March 2021.
Where will the new building be?
The additional accommodation will be on the existing Belmont School site next to the classrooms for the older pupils. Any outdoor playing space that is lost will be re-provided on an area of the site not currently well used.
How will disruption to the day to day running of the school be minimised?
The intention is to construct as much of the building as possible off site and undertake the most disruptive work during the school holidays.
How will disruption to local residents be minimised?
A condition of the planning approval is that the hours of working on site during the period of construction shall be restricted to 07:30 to 17:00 hours Mondays to Fridays, 08:00 to 13:00 hours on Saturdays and no working shall take place on Sundays, Bank or Public Holidays. The term 'working' includes the use of any plant or machinery (mechanical or other), the carrying out of any maintenance/cleaning work on any plant or machinery, deliveries to and from the site and the movement of construction vehicles within the curtilage of the site.
Who has been appointed to deliver the new building?
A local family run and well established Gloucestershire firm, EG Carter, has been appointed as the principal contractor. They have significant experience in delivering classroom accommodation in special school settings.
Isn’t there already a lot of building work going on at Belmont School?
Over a number of years the school has been fundraising and developing plans for a soft play room and construction on this stared in summer 2020. That project is separate to this GCC funded and managed project to provide additional classroom accommodation.
Does this mean that there will be more pupils at the school?
The school currently has 156 pupils and this project is to provide the existing pupils with better suited accommodation. Typically the pupils who attend the school have Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD) but over time the school has admitted pupils with additional and more complex needs and additional space is required for more individualised intervention work.
Why is the council paying for building work at Belmont now that it is an academy?
Whilst academies are responsible for funding ongoing maintenance works at their schools, and seeking central government funding for condition improvement works, the Council is the commissioner of school places and the additional accommodation is required to meet the needs of the Gloucestershire residents the council has placed at the school.
Will local residents and other interested stakeholders have an opportunity to see the plans?
The school arranged for local residents and other interested stakeholders to engage with the plans ahead of the submission of the application for planning consent. Neighboring properties received a letter in November explaining the proposals and providing details of how to view the proposed plans. In the context of the ongoing COVID 19 situation this approach was taken as an alternative to holding a face to face engagement event. There was the opportunity for formal comment as part of the planning application process and the detailed proposals can be viewed on the GCC Planning Portal: https://planning.gloucestershire.gov.uk/publicaccess/
The traffic in this area is already quite heavy, will this impact further on that?
The council is aware that traffic can be heavy around the entrance to the three schools that form part of this wider education campus and any highways impact will be taken in to account as part of the decision on whether to give planning consent. However, this project is about providing more suitable accommodation for the children and young people already at the school. The school will work closely with the contractors to carefully manage the movement of construction vehicles during the build phase of this project to minimise disruption to the day to day running of the school and to minimise the impact on its neighbours.
Who can I contact if I would like to ask a question about this project?
Any comments or questions can be raised by e-mailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or by calling Nathan Roe, Education Planning Manager on: 01452 427262
Last updated: February 2021