Planners have this week approved proposals for a temporary home for the east Surrey’s newest secondary school.
Members of Reigate and Banstead Borough Council’s planning committee backed a scheme to create a ‘horseshoe’ development of single-storey classrooms in the grounds of Chart Wood School to accommodate students at the new Merstham Park School.
The buildings will be used for up to two years while work is carried out on a purpose-built home for the new school which is due to open its doors in September.
Merstham Park will be a secondary school with pupils aged from 11 to 16 and offer 180 places a year. The new building will be on the site of the former Chart Wood School which is being relocated to Dorking by Surrey County Council.
Funding for the project was approved by the Secretary of State earlier this year and Merstham Park is part of the GLF Schools, which submitted the application for the new free school in 2015.
Headteacher Martin Beard said the decision was an important step forward in the creation of a new school of which the borough would be proud.
“We’re delighted to have been granted planning permission and are excited as we take our next steps in delivering on our ambitions for a vibrant new secondary school for the benefit of children within Merstham, Redhill and Reigate," he said.
"With the appointment of our teaching team in place - we’re all excited to be welcoming our first cohort and their families in September. It will be full of bold opportunities, experiences and adventures for future generations of Merstham and the surrounding area.
“The benefit of working with fantastic colleagues at GLF Schools will enable us to deliver high quality educational experiences for all our students,” he added.
While the new school is being constructed, students and staff will be working in a group temporary buildings centred around a courtyard area on the school grounds, off Taynton Drive.
A new access link will be created for the use of the school and members of the committee, which met on Wednesday (18) were told: “The applicant has provided clear evidence of an immediate need for new secondary school provision (from September 2018) to serve the Merstham/Redhill/Reigate area, a fact which is supported by commentary from Surrey County Council and by this council’s own infrastructure needs evidence.”
The site is within the Metropolitan Green Belt, but as the buildings were temporary and there was such a need, planning officers said in a report that the benefits of meeting a “pressing educational need” were sufficient as to be very special circumstances.
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