Detailed plans published for Dunmow’s new ‘learning village’
- Credit: PA
The number of children walking or cycling to and from a proposed new secondary school in Dunmow each day has been forecast to increase by almost 200, according to data provided as part of a planning application to Essex County Council.
Detailed plans have now been published for the new all-through “learning village” in Buttleys Lane, just off the A120.
It will be capable of educating more than 2,000 children aged five to 18, as well as developing an existing secondary school into around 200 homes at the site of Helena Romanes School in Parsonage Downs.
It would incorporate 1,350 secondary pupils and 250 sixth form pupils. The new primary school could be ready by September 2021 but if work is not completed, youngsters may be forced to go to a pop-up primary school made of temporary buildings within the existing HRS campus.
The number of children walking to and from the site, which could be surrounded by housing development, is expected to stay at around 29 percent, but the actual number of children taking that made of transport would increase from about 450 to 630. The numbers taking a school bus is also anticipated to decrease to just short of 900 from about 1,014.
This is expected to mean a 10 percent increase in share for walking/cycling trips to take into account the 1,200 homes coming forward in committed developments or schemes awaiting planning in close proximity to the site, for example at land to the west of Woodside Way, land to the south of Stortford Road and land to the west of Buttleys Lane.
The land directly to the north of the site, west of Woodside Way, has planning permission for 750 homes and a primary school, along with a new roundabout access. Farmland to the east of the site is subject to a planning application for up to 440 homes and a health centre, on land south of Stortford Road.
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A further application has been lodged to the west of the proposed school site at Buttleys Lane for up to 60 homes.
A new primary site, as part of a large housing development to the west of Dunmow, is the only option to be able to meet the extra demand for primary school places, Essex County Council has said.
Even without new housing being built, or delayed, there is still a requirement for a new primary school, based on the number of families living in the Dunmow area, which cannot be accommodated at the current two primary schools in the area.
The plan envisages one large combined block accommodating all three provisions for primary, secondary and sixth forms, although distinct ‘wings’ will give some autonomy to the provisions. The sports block is still kept separate.
The sports hall will be used by the wider Great Dunmow community enabling use of the eight court sports hall, activity studio, all weather pitch, running track, rounders and football pitches out of school hours.
A statement as part of the planning application said: “In common with many schools, Helena Romanes’ existing site has developed over a number of years in response to changing circumstances and requirements.
“As a result the building users have had to adapt to the opportunities or limitations offered in buildings not necessarily designed for their purpose. “Consequently it is recognised that the quantity and quality of existing space does not match current requirements and cannot offer a flexible response to potential changes in the future. “In this new proposal the quantity of space provided is a function of current curriculum demands; efficiency in the utilisation of the space; the physical opportunities offered by the site and ultimately, the affordability of the proposals.”
It adds: “In recent times there has been a marked increase in the number of short vehicle journeys undertaken instead of more traditional physical methods for getting pupils to school such as walking or cycling. The reasons for this increase are many; a lack of suitable and reliable public transport and the rising number of working parents who have little time and drop children off on their way to work are among the reasons given.
“With growing concerns, both at national and local levels, about the rising incidents of obesity and implications for the health and fitness of individuals, initiatives have been developed in an attempt to combat future problems. The school travel plan is one such initiative and HRS welcomes the chance to make students healthier individuals.”