We are delighted to announce that on Friday August 5th The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid approved our planning application for a new building at Stubbings in Maidenhead which will accommodate a maximum of 96 children.
We are very pleased with the decision. The new school will provide us with a larger permanent site with extensive facilities in order for us to fully realise our educational vision and create our ‘flagship’ school. It will be an excellent alternative provision for children in the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead as well as those in the surrounding counties.
The Secretary of State’s decision supported evidence provided by the school that its purpose – “to educate vulnerable, looked after and adopted children” – qualifies as “Very Special Circumstances”. It stated that “a compelling need for the school has been demonstrated” and that there would be “life-long benefits to the wider society”. It also stated that “evidence put forward for the requirement for a rural setting to facilitate outdoor learning is compelling”
- The Inspector found that the very special circumstances clearly outweigh the totality of harm caused by the development. She makes the point that she does not find this a case where the issues are finely balanced.
- The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child provides that the best interests of the children shall be a primary consideration in all actions by public authorities.
- The Inspector’s Report states “I bear in mind the government’s policy set out in the Framework that great importance is attached to ensuring that a sufficient choice of school places is available; great weight should be given to the need to create, expand or alter schools, as here. I find that the educational need for BLS, on this site, to be compelling, it would accord with the government’s policy as above and the social dimension of sustainable development and I give this substantial weight”
- The Inspector attaches substantial weight to “the very real, compelling need, now, for the continued and future education provision that BLS would provide”
- “…the life-long benefits to society should be considered. The evidence presented to the inquiry underlines that children who fail to learn and do not have their needs met appropriately tend to create a disproportionate cost to wider society in the long-term”
- She concludes that there is an obvious need for a rural location for the re-located school. She states, “I find the evidence put forward for the requirement for a rural setting to facilitate outdoor learning to be compelling; outdoor learning is a strong ethos of the school and has proven favourable educational outcomes”
- She concludes that “sufficient evidence that a search for a less harmful site has been undertaken with appropriate parameters and that no alternative site is to be found” She notes that “A remarkable number of sites have been considered, bearing in mind the considerable constraints…” There is no evidence to suggest a different site could emerge shortly either.
- She find limited harm caused to the character of the area; “The lack of harm to the appearance of the area and the lack of negative effects on the highway network are neutral factors”
To download a full copy of the report click here
We will keep you up to date as the development progresses – so watch this space!
Thank you again to everyone who supported our application – we will be forever grateful.