Delayed Lyde Green schools must now get permission for redesign


An image of how the primary and secondary schools’ main entrances will look

A planning application to redesign Lyde Green’s long-awaited secondary school and a second primary school to serve the new estate has been submitted.

Outline planning permission for the 900-place secondary school and a 420-place primary school was first secured seven years ago, with detailed consent granted in March 2021.

But from the start, the project has been plagued by delays including a change to the original location, a change in the sponsor of the secondary school and a change of builder, along with challenging market conditions in the construction industry which have sent project costs soaring.

Building the co-located schools was going to be £30m in 2021 but £41m has so far been committed by South Gloucestershire Council and the Government – and last month the council said it still needed to secure more funding for the secondary school.

The site earmarked for the new schools

The amended application, lodged on the council’s planning portal this month, says the alterations are proposed chiefly for the secondary school to meet Department for Education (DfE) guidance and standards so that the project can be funded and delivered.

The secondary school has been redesigned to meet DfE requirements with additional rooms and facilities. The schools are still co-joined but each would have its own defined main reception entrance.

Storey heights for both schools have been increased by a 50mm due to a requirement for additional fire treatment.

Internal changes to the primary school include the relocation of the lift and minor adjustments to associated rooms, the removal of the interconnecting door between the two schools and a slight move of the main entrance. The plans also show the primary school’s playground has been altered. The outdoor assembly amphitheatre has been removed to allow for more soft landscaping.

A new arrival point and court for secondary school pupils to the south east has been included, with hard and soft landscaping, benches and revised cycle and car parking.

A new hard landscaped court is provided to the north next to the sports hall, PE changing and community entrance.

The informal hard games courts have been replaced with a soft informal and social area of seating, landscaping and pathways, in part to meet DfE requirements. One of the other changes is that the delivery bay in the south-eastern car park now has a specific access point into the secondary school.

The planning application says: “The delivery of both schools is ultimately critical to the success of the wider Lyde Green urban extension, and a swift decision from the authority is desired to ensure there is little delay to delivery.”

The Olympus Academy Trust will be running the secondary school and Castle School Education Trust (CSET) will run the primary school under the Government’s Free Schools programme.

The planning reference is P23/02334/RVC. The deadline for comments is 20th September and a decision is expected by early November.