New Special Educational Needs School for Bedford Borough
Wates Construction and BBC Education
Circa 2.45 hectares
Hillgrounds Road, Kempston
Over the past four years, Bedford Borough has seen an increase of 18% in the number attending SEN schools with the current number standing at approximately 370 pupils. Existing schools reached capacity in December 2019, with over 100 SEN pupils educated outside of the borough in January 2021.
The existing site constraints included the setting of a Listed Building, Urban Open Space designation and limited land available due to the proximity of the existing closed Robert Bruce School buildings, which may be subject to demolition and alternative redevelopment in due course.
The key issue regarding the restriction of the site, enabling the wider site to be utilised was overcome, avoiding the costs associated with demolition of existing buildings. There were challenges in terms of the level of staffing and their parking requirement on the proposed schools, with there being a finely judged planning balance weighted heavily in our favour due to the provision of the educational needs (Paragraph 95 NPPF).
This new facility will be one of the largest SEN facilities in the country, providing specialist care and enabling families in the local area to have their children educated closer to home.