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:
Partner, Planning & Development
020 7529 1501