Suffolk school unveils plans for new fitness suite and cafe

The Seckford Foundation has applied for planning permission for the fitness suite at Woodbridge School.

The Seckford Foundation has applied for planning permission for the fitness suite at Woodbridge School. - Credit: ARCHANT

A new fitness centre and café is set to be built on the site of a disused swimming pool at a Suffolk independent school. 

The Seckford Foundation, which owns Woodbridge School, has applied for planning permission for the project to replace the existing structure with the new centre, containing changing rooms, a café area and a large fitness suite. 

A new building measuring 362sqm will replace the disused pool, while the fitness suite will measure nearly 300sqm. 

Planning policy requires new retail or commercial leisure facilities to be within the town centre, but as the new centre will be available for daytime educational use, the school was deemed the most appropriate site for the facility. 

In addition, the location is within the 300m boundary of the town centre, as required by planning policy for developments with a commercial leisure purpose, although these plans also include an educational use. 

In a design and access statement prepared by architects Ashenden Architecture, the proposed new building is described as occupying a similar footprint to the previous pool, while the roof will be at a similar height to existing structures at the site. 

A number of features will be added to mitigate the impact of the development on the surrounding landscape, which is a grass valley with woodland on the slopes. 

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A grass roof will be included while natural materials will be used to enhance the landscape. 

The development will also promote pedestrian and cyclist access ahead of vehicles. 

A spokesperson for Woodbridge School said: “The swimming pool and changing rooms are located on the main school site and have not been used by the school for many years due to their deterioration and increasing costs of maintenance and repair.   

“Consideration was given to what might be the most beneficial use of that area for our school, parents and local community and the decision was made to demolish the pool and seek permission for a new fitness space with changing and café facility on the same part of the school site instead.  

“We can confirm there are no plans to sell the site currently occupied by the swimming pool, which will remain owned by Woodbridge School.”