Our planning application for a new STEM centre was agreed unanimously at the October planning committee. Work will commence in January and we hope that the new facility will be handed to us this time next year.
Outstanding Planning Applications
The planning applications for the development of a small portion of our land on the northern perimeter and the installation of a 3G pitch have yet to be decided. We have been working very closely with specialist advisers to ensure that planning issues have been addressed. We are confident of getting a positive recommendation from the planning officer. Can I assure you that all receipts obtained from the sale of the land will be utilised to develop the facilities available to students.
We are pleased that work has started this week on preparing the planned site for our new STEM Centre ready for works to begin on 3rd March.
Asset of Community Value
The strip of land in question was nominated as an Asset of Community Value by a local pressure group. I can assure you that the listing of our land as an ACV does not provide the pressure group with any real control over the land’s use, sale, or price. It is largely toothless in terms of giving real rights to such groups. All the ACV regime provides is an extra six months for the group to raise funds and convince us to sell to them. The ACV affords a right to bid, not a right to be considered and they could have always exercised that right when the land comes to the market. The College land is private property and there are signs requesting the public not to trespass. In recent years we have allowed permissive access on weekdays in term time but not at other times. We have removed permissive access to the campus.
The College has identified the top gate as a potential risk to the safety to students, staff and to the security of college buildings and grounds. As we share the campus with 5 other educational establishments, this risk potentially impacts the safety of thousands of students.
- Staff working in the outer blocks have concerns regarding their safety.
- Prevent/Security Site Visit carried out by Tony Pike identified the importance & need to minimise (ideally remove completely) any unchecked access on the campus. Currently anyone could access College buildings via the top gate unchecked.
- There are 5 other educational establishments on the Campus who all have designated entrances onto their sites. Access via the top gates negates their ability to effectively apply their own Safeguarding & Prevent Policy.
- Dog walkers and unauthorised members of the public accessing the site during College open hours disrupt lessons and pose a significant threat to safety of Staff, Students and College buildings & grounds.
I have raised the issue of closing the top gate with the other schools on the campus, all either welcome this or have no issue with this. From a safeguarding perspective all the schools would prefer pupils to use the designated entrance only. I am informed that the local pressure group is seeking to have various access points to the campus including the top gate and several garden gates opening onto our land as having a ‘right of way’. This is something we will be opposing. We have a duty to safeguard the pupils and students attending the schools and the College and having unfettered access is not acceptable. We will be reviewing access arrangements across the site over the coming months.
THE NORTH GATE ACCESS POINT HAS NOW BEEN CLOSED TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF OUR STUDENTS, STAFF AND OF THE CAMPUS SCHOOLCHILDREN DUE TO THE CONSTRUCTION WORKS AND MACHINERY/VEHICLE MOVEMENTS IN THAT AREA. PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ACCESS THIS AREA OF THE COLLEGE GROUNDS. CLIMBING THE FENCE IS DANGEROUS. WE HAVE POSITIONED TEMPORARY FENCING TO DISCOURAGE ANYONE TRYING TO DO SO.
I have submitted a £350,000 bid for the refurbishment of the Kitchen. The kitchen and refectory were originally designed for 260 boys we now serve 1200 covers per day. I think it is true to say that the catering team do a fantastic job in a fairly demanding environment.
I have also submitted a £215,000 bid to build a female and gender neutral toilet block.
The outcome of both bids should be known by Easter.