Chichester school allowed to make changes to 60-year-old buildings - But funding is still needed

Bishop Luffa School has been given the go-ahead to make significant changes to its 1960s buildings, which are ‘no longer fit for purpose’.

Saturday, 11th July 2020, 9:30 am
ks190563-8 Bishop Luffa New phot kate The leaky roof in the science lab.ks190563-8 SUS-191014-173302008

Two separate planning applications were submitted by the school in August last year — one to build a new assembly hall and additional classrooms in place of the existing science block and the other to demolish three mobile classrooms so new first floor science blocks can be constructed.

Funding is still required but the school, based in Westgate, Chichester, has been given the all-important green light by the district council.

Headteacher Austen Hindman said: “Students at Bishop Luffa School still work in some of the original 1960s buildings that are no longer fit for purpose.

ks190563-3 Bishop Luffa New phot kate Headteacher, Austin Hindman.ks190563-3 SUS-191014-173031008

“It is not acceptable that a student should be sat next to a bucket that is collecting drips from the roof above during a science lesson.

“We are all very glad that planning permission has been granted for a new science block and hope that this will lead to funding also being granted.

“Now, more than ever, we need to show students that we value their education.”

Speaking shortly after the plans were submitted, Mr Hindman said: “The most important thing to say is we don’t yet have the funding to do this.

ks190563-4 Bishop Luffa New phot kate Business manager Mark Nicholds looking at the building that needs replacing.ks190563-4 SUS-191014-173110008

“There are parts to the school which haven’t had much attention. It is a 1960s building, built for 600 children. We now have around 1,500 children so it is impractical. We cannot have children in certain parts.

“In the science block, you cannot get two full size adults standing side by side. It is not fair for the children.”

The design and access statement for plans to build a new 750 seater assembly hall, read: “The existing Bartlett Hall is now undersized, and can only seat a small proportion of the number of students. At present, it is multi-purpose and used for assemblies, dining and drama performance.

“This project offers many advantages. It creates much needed gathering space for half the school, allows the Bartlett Hall to become a dedicated dining and social space and in addition allows more flexibility to the school’s timetable.”

ks190563-6 Bishop Luffa New phot kate A dilapidated portacabin.ks190563-6 SUS-191014-173218008

The school said the fabric of the old science block is below current standards’ especially with regard to insulation.

Outlining why it wanted to demolish three mobiles, the school wrote: “The existing single storey science accommodation, known as the new science block’, was constructed in 1995. The new proposal seeks to accommodate the old original science classrooms in the proposed first floor above the new science block’.

“This in turn allows for the relocation of a number of general temporary classrooms, built prior to 2000, which are nearing the end of their life and require high levels of maintenance, into the old science block.

“The current project will enable the school to upgrade classroom accommodation and replace sub-standard areas. This project is small, but seeks to upgrade and rationalise classrooms generally.”

Mr Hindman said at the time that changes would hopefully be seen ‘within a few years’.

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