Helena Romanes School in Great Dunmow is celebrating after winning an appeal against Uttlesford District Council.

The council refused planning permission in 2020 to redevelop the existing school site, which the school described as a "huge blow" to their building project.

In February, the school appealed the council's decision alongside Real 8 Group and Phase 2 planning. 

The independent planning inspector upheld the school's appeal, and granted permission for the demolition of the existing school building, together with planning permission for up to 200 dwellings on the site.

In June 2022, the Department for Education identified the school as one of 60 schools in the country to benefit from its school rebuilding programme.


Executive headteacher Ms Catherine Davis said: "We are absolutely thrilled to win this appeal. 

"This is a great step forward on our journey towards a brand new school, which we are working closely with the Department for Education and Essex County Council to deliver, and together with Saffron Academy Trust we are passionate about building the school that the children of this community so rightly deserve."

With the site converted into new homes, the redevelopment would have moved forward plans for a new all-through school in Stortford Road.

Uttlesford District Council initially refused the plans over concerns that there was not enough affordable housing, and regarding the impact on nearby heritage buildings, describing the proposals as 'harmful urbanisation'.

At a planning committee meeting in 2021, the CEO of the Saffron Academy Trust, which runs Helena Romanes, said there were two years left before the number of pupils coming to the school would exceed the amount of space available.

In the interim, Essex County Council worked with Helena Romanes to ensure there are sufficient primary school places for Great Dunmow by installing temporary classrooms on the site for the first wave of students starting at Helena Romanes Primary School.

A council spokesperson said: "The council respects the decision of the independent planning inspector who was appointed by the Secretary of State to decide the appeal. Council officers will work constructively with the school to discharge the planning conditions and obligations imposed by the inspector. "