Chichester Free School plans for new home finally set for decision

Plans for temporary buildings to cope with more than 200 extra pupils at Chichester Free School's interim base over the next year, have been unveiled.

Wednesday, 18th May 2016, 5:07 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th May 2016, 6:10 pm
Artist's impression of the converted convent which will be the home of the Chichester Free School. Picture contributed by Chichester Free School SUS-150210-120635001

And after a series of delays, the application for a new permanent school at the disused Carmelite Convent in Hunston is set to go before planners on Wednesday, May 25.

The school says it needs the additional classroom and drama space and changing rooms as more pupils in new year groups are due to start school in September. It is also asking for permission to increase the school’s capacity on its temporary site from the current 570 to a maximum of 780 pupils until September 2017.

It was hoped building work on the new state-of-the-art school in Hunston would begin early this year after the planning application was submitted to Chichester District Council last October.

But, said principal Guy Martyn, queries had been raised. “However we are still on track to move to our permanent home by September next year.”

Planning permission was granted in 2013 for the temporary change of use of the Courtyard and Unit 8 at Vinnetrow Business Park in Chichester from offices to education. This was later extended to September 2017.

The school has agreed to two extensions of time for Chichester District Council (CDC) to decide the plan for the new school at Hunston. The deadline now stands at May 31.

CDC said the plan had been delayed due to concerns raised over highways, landscape and visual impacts which required amended or additional plans.

In a letter to parents on Tuesday, chairman of the governors Stephen King said: “There is now light at the end of the tunnel and although 2016/17 will not be without its challenges, I am certain Chichester Free School is set to flourish and its pupils will continue to be nurtured, challenged and inspired to achieve great things.”

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