‘Oversubscribed’ special needs school receives go-ahead for expansion

Bramfield House School near Halesworth has been given the green light to expand Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Bramfield House School near Halesworth has been given the green light to expand Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: Archant

A special educational needs school near Halesworth has received the green light for a major expansion, including the addition of new classrooms and a gym building.

Bramfield House School, a weekly boarding school in Walpole Road, Bramfield, applied to East Suffolk Council seeking permission to “offer more appropriate spaces to allow for the future development of the young people” in their care.

The school, which was established in 1970 and is managed by Acorn Education and Care, provides specialist education for 74 boys aged between five and 19.

However, planning documents submitted alongside the application state that the school is “consistently oversubscribed” and in need of an expansion to cope with the “continued need for specialist provision” in Suffolk.

The documents added: “The school meets the needs of a diverse group of young people who experience social, emotional, communication difficulties and associated challenging behaviours.”

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Included in the plans are proposals to construct a new block of two classrooms and activity space, which would utilise similar materials to other buildings on the school grounds.

The school also submitted plans to demolish an existing outbuilding to make way for a gym, as well as extending the design and technology (DT) workshop.

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To allay fears of a negative impact the school’s expansion would have on traffic and highways, the school estimated the scheme would only result in an additional six to eight taxis arriving each day.

A similar application by the school to construct extra classrooms, a gym building and extend the DT workshop was approved in 2015, though the project was never completed.

Bramfield and Thorington Parish Council raised no objection to the revised scheme.

The proposals would allow the school to increase its capacity from 77 students to 103, while also allow for three extra members of full-time staff to be hired.

East Suffolk Council planners have now given the application from the school the go-ahead.

In delivering a verdict, East Suffolk said: “The proposals are generally to enhance facilities that the school already has with the replacement of sub standard facilities with the aim of improving the learning experience for their pupils.”

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