Planning permission secured for new SEN school in the Green Belt
Date of Article
Nov 21 2018
Planning & Development

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@ Peter Edwards
Peter Edwards 
020 7529 1501 email me about Peter Edwards

Peter is a chartered town planner with over 30 years experience. He was a graduate at Healey and Baker and a Director of DTZ. He set up Planning Perspectives in 1997 which was bought by Carter Jonas in December 2014. He provides planning and development advice to private sector clients (including landowners, occupiers, developers and investors) to help unlock the potential of difficult sites and maximise the value of complex mixed use schemes and regeneration opportunities. He has experience in the retail sector having secured permission for - 1.5 million sq ft of food retail floorspace and 750,000 sq ft of on-line distribution space; a business park; industrial and distribution schemes; HQ office buildings; hotels, and educational buildings. He advises a number of golf clubs and has recently obtained permission for a major golf course and luxury hotel. In terms of residential development he is promoting a strategic allocation and has obtained permission for a retirement village, small housing schemes and numerous private houses. He has worked on a number of highly constrained sites, including obtaining permission for a large foodstore on a listed quayside within a World Heritage Site. He has advised on a number of developments involving listed buildings or located within the Green Belt, AONBs and Conservation Areas.

Outside the office Peter is to be found on Woking Golf Course (or any other quality course he has not played previously). He is on the Golf Committee of the Lord’s Taverners and a supporter of Harlequins RFC. 

I can provide advice on:

On behalf of the London Borough of Bexley and Galliford Try, the London planning team has secured planning permission for a new 120 place Special Education Needs (SEN) school in Sidcup, in the London Borough of Bexley. The £11.5 million contract is part funded by the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

The main challenge for this scheme was the site’s location in the Green Belt. The team were initially instructed in March 2018 to prepare a Green Belt location and site sequential assessment for discussion with the Greater London Authority (GLA). The report justified the choice of location and demonstrated the acute school place need.  The scheme included a performing arts centre and an all-weather sports pitch for shared use by the new SEN school and existing adjacent secondary school. These additions helped form part of the ‘Very Special Circumstances’ package of measures required to pass the Green Belt tests.

Following positive engagement with the GLA and the local community, a planning application was rapidly prepared and submitted for submission in May 2018.  Fast-paced negotiation ensued with the GLA to robustly justify Very Special Circumstances and pass the high bar Green Belt tests.

In early September, a unanimous resolution to grant was issued by the London Borough of Bexley’s planning committee. Due to the site’s location in the Green Belt, the planning application was referred to the GLA and Secretary of State who deferred the decision to the Local Planning Authority. In mid-November the planning permission was issued.

The London planning team continue to be involved in the project and will lead the discharge of planning conditions. The school is expected to open in January 2020.  

The London planning team continues to work on a number of other school sites funded by the ESFA.  

For Further information please contact a member of our team:

Peter Edwards
Partner, Planning & Development
020 7529 1501