Designs revealed for Marlborough's new primary school
now named Marlborough St Mary's Primary School - took a major step forward on Tuesday (January 26) when the designs and plans were revealed at a consultation event held at St Mary's Infant School.Marlborough's new primary school -
The event was organised by Keir Construction who will be building the new school. There were representatives there from the government's Education Funding Agency (EFA), Wiltshire Council and the architects - Stride Treglown of Bristol - and from Keir Construction.
The governors of the two schools which are combining for the new primary school - St Peter's Junior and St Mary's Infants - are delighted with the single storey design which is so essential for pupils with special needs. And the good news is that this is now being funded by capital money and not through a Private Finance Initiative (PFI.)
The single storey, flat roof design includes one area of pitched roofing. This means that the school will not be intrusive to residents along Isbury Road or to the George Lane gardens which back onto the site.
The new school will be built to the east of the existing St Mary's buildings. The architects have had to cope with the peculiar geography of the site. You might not notice it, but there is a drop from the south side to the north side of the site of between seven and eight metres.
That has meant the architect has had to twist the building - which as single story school has a large 'footprint' - out of its original L-shape design so as to fit with the slope. The budget now includes money for a series of retaining walls to cope with the slope.
Because of this drop across the site, before construction begins Keir will have to remove many thousand cubic feet of top-soil. As David Wilson, Keir's head of design for the project, said: "There used to be allotments there, so it's pretty good top soil."
It was a wet and windy evening, but the room with the architects' model and the designs was full for about three hours as people came in looked, asked questions, made their comments and left. The EFA representative called the turnout 'phenomenal'. He had been to a similar event for a new secondary school project on the south coast and eight people had turned up.
The design includes a hard surface sports area which will be perfectly flat - and will be a welcome new feature for both St Peter's and St Mary's pupils. There will also be a grass football pitch which under present plans will have a slope. The building budget will not cover levelling this pitch and fund-raising may be needed to make it into a truly level playing field.
The new school will have a pedestrian entrance from the east end of the site with a footpath running along the north side of the site.
David Wilson expect the planning application will be lodged with Wiltshire Council early in February - perhaps as early as February 8. There will still be several hurdles to overcome.
It is expected that conditions will call for a further archaeological investigation following on from the planning permission granted in 2010 - before the coalition government cancelled the national school rebuilding programme. Another consideration is the ecology of the site - two protected species are involved: bats and slow worms and both will need further investigations.
Mr Wilson is keen to spend as much of the budget on the school building rather than on temporary and pre-construction work. During construction entry to the site will be from the Salisbury Road and Cherry Orchard. Wiltshire Council may put delivery conditions onto planning approval so as to avoid any further congestion on Salisbury Road at peak times.
The Duck's Meadow entrance to the school will only be used by Keir's team for the very last construction stages - the demolition of the present St Mary's buildings and making the staff car park.