School serving area with hundreds of new homes set to expand

A CGI visualisation of the new teaching block planned for Thurston Community College

A CGI visualisation of the new teaching block planned for Thurston Community College - Credit: CONCERTUS DESIGN & PROPERTY CONSULTANTS

A Suffolk college will be able to welcome another 150 youngsters if its expansion plans are given the go-ahead.

Suffolk County Council, as the education authority, has submitted a planning application for a new standalone block at the Thurston Community College that will allow the school to up its student capacity from 1,500 to 1,650.

The new building in Norton Road will feature three classrooms, two science labs, a science preparation room, and toilets.

The council said the new building will be northwest of the existing school so it is located closest to the existing science labs in the main school building and have a minimal impact on the playing fields.

Conservative cabinet member for education at Suffolk County Council, Rachel Hood.

Conservative cabinet member for education at Suffolk County Council, Rachel Hood. - Credit: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Councillor Rachel Hood, cabinet member for education at Suffolk County Council, said: “This is an exciting development for the college and will make a significant and positive difference to the local community.

“This expansion underlies our commitment to making sure we have the right provision for our children and young people as our population continues to grow.”

An already-approved application for expanded sports facilities north of the playing fields will deliver the necessary additional parking spaces, the application said.

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Air-to-water air source heat pumps are planned, while planting beds around the new build will aid biodiversity, the application continued.

The council in its application said: “The project will greatly benefit the school by adding additional teaching space for the increase in pupil numbers and will maintain a good link to the existing school building by suiting the science classrooms together.

“The proposed location has been designed to minimalise impact on its immediate surrounding, and although the proposed development encroaches on the schools’ playing fields, the existing sports markings are to be re-positioned to maintain the schools existing sports offering.”

Thurston is experiencing vast numbers of new homes with hundreds already having gained planning permission in the last few years.

It means the school expansion is  needed to help meet the education needs of the village’s growing population.

The plans are currently open to consultee comments until June 18, with a decision set to be made later this year.