DPP has secured planning permission under delegated powers for a 120-place school catering for pupils aged 5-16 with Social and Emotional Mental Health Needs (SEMH) and Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN).
Delivered by the DfE as part of the Free Schools Programme, with ISG acting as lead contractor, construction is well underway at the new special educational needs (SEN) academy in Ash, South Somerset, which is due to complete early next year. The facility will address a significant shortage of local places for pupils with additional learning needs.
The site’s location outside an established settlement boundary was a key constraint in gaining planning permission. DPP worked closely with the Authority, Department for Education, ISG and the wider Design Team, to construct a clear and evidence-based argument to justify the proposal in such a location. Other constraints in respect of accessibility, highway impact and design were all key factors which were successfully addressed through the application process.
The Academy’s design is highly sustainable and will target net zero carbon in operation, in line with South Somerset District Council’s sustainability goals to become carbon neutral by 2030. Careful attention was given to making the building as energy-efficient as possible from the earliest design phase, by assessing the embodied carbon of materials, using local materials where possible and natural materials such as sustainable timber cladding and locally sourced ham stone, incorporating green roofs and PV panels, as well as installing sustainable drainage systems.
Osian Roberts, Associate Director at DPP, said:
We are delighted to have secured planning permission for this important facility to serve significant local need for special education needs. The proposal posed several planning constraints, not least its location outside the settlement boundary, however, the approach to engage early with the Authority and progress a clear and robust argument in favour of the proposal was a key success of the project. We very much look forward to seeing the school develop and open in 2024.