Chichester school seeking permission to make changes to ‘impractical’ building

Bishop Luffa School is seeking planning permission to make significant changes to its ‘impractical’ 1960s building.

Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 5:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 6:39 pm
ks190563-8 Bishop Luffa New phot kate The leaky roof in the science lab.ks190563-8 SUS-191014-173302008

Two separate planning applications have been submitted by the school, based in Westgate, Chichester — one to build a new assembly hall and additional classrooms in place of the existing science block (CC/19/02094/OUT) and the other to demolish three mobile classrooms so new first floor science blocks can be constructed (CC/19/02093/FUL).

Headteacher Austen Hindman said: “The most important thing to say is we don’t yet have the funding to do this. We want to obtain planning permission first to make a case for funding.

“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.

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

“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.”

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

ks190563-7 Bishop Luffa New phot kate Business manager Mark Nicholds outside a dilapidated portacabin.ks190563-7 SUS-191014-173236008

Outlining why it wants 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 the school is ‘remaining positive’ and will ‘hopefully see some changes within a few years’.

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

“We will be doing our own fundraising as well,” he said.

“We will hopefully make them realise how great the need is.

“Despite all this, we have achieved a lot with what we have. We have carried on being successful and will keep doing our best, even if we don’t get this funding to improve the sub-standard conditions.

“We do need the same facilities as other schools. We have had building work done in the last few years so it is nothing new. One of the buildings was refurbished.”