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Design plans approved for The Westgate School transformation

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Building designs have received the go ahead by Hampshire County Council for the transformation of The Westgate School in Winchester.

County Council Leader, Councillor Roy Perry approved the proposals at his Decision Day meeting on 25 June, which will see the provision of extra school places to cater for pupils aged from 4 through to 16, in the first maintained school of its kind in the county.

The £7.8million transformation is part of an overall £15million investment by Hampshire County Council in primary school places in Winchester to provide quality education locally, near to where children live and where parents want them to go to school. Provision of the additional places at the Westgate School, along with expansions at two other primary schools, and a further three schools awaiting expansion, will meet present and future demand for local school places where the places are needed.

Primary age pupils will be provided with facilities which include 14 new classrooms, a library and ICT area, play areas, food tech and specialist practical areas, as well as facilities for teachers and staff, office spaces and toilet, plant and kitchen facilities. In addition to a music and drama room, also available for community use, a main hall will be provided which will be able to be used as a dining hall, performance space, gymnasium and assembly hall. The nursery provision at the school will be combined and relocated to a new purpose built building with direct access to new outside play areas. Meanwhile additional car parking will be provided on the school site.

Councillor Perry said; "It is a nationwide phenomenon that demand for primary school places is rising. In Winchester this is down to a rise in the birth rate, a change in the demography with more younger families, as well as additional housing already built in the city. It is also down to the general high quality of education in Hampshire schools.

"I am pleased that these design plans take into account the needs of children already in the schools, and following extensive public consultation with the local community, the views of some neighbours who had concerns about the impact of traffic movements in the area. There are good walking routes to the Westgate campus so a large number of children will be able to walk to school, and the development plans include improvements on some local roads and the creation of extra parent drop off facilities on nearby Chilbolton Avenue, as well as staggered start and end times for the schools on the site.

"We have a very good track record of accurate and high quality pupil forecasting, and the spaces at Westgate will be needed by September next year. Planning permission was granted on the 6 June and work to transform the school is therefore scheduled to start, as programmed, this Summer so that the new facilities can be in place for the start of the new academic year in 2014."

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