We were delighted recently when Greenleas School in Leighton Buzzard was granted retrospective planning permission for a play canopy on their Kestrel Way site. The large 123m2 canopy comprised of 35mm thick opal polycarbonate roof panels was installed a couple of years ago.
An oversight meant that permission had not been sought prior to construction. Our retrospective application to Central Bedfordshire Council argued that the structure is acceptable in planning policy terms: it aids children with their outdoors learning and supports delivery of the National Curriculum, it has an empathetic design that blends well with the existing school building, and also presents no harm to the neighbouring residential amenity.
Greenleas School happily now has a compliant play canopy for the children to enjoy, and the school also uses it for breakfast and after school clubs.
Our project to deliver a new 3-classroom block at Biggleswade Academy in Bedfordshire has completed on time and within budget, opening last week for the start of the new school year.
Everyone involved has received praise for the transformation of this part of the school site, which formally housed a disused outdoor swimming pool and a modular unit. We have seen this project through from inception to completion; our involvement began at feasibility stage, when we produced concept designs for a free-standing building, and progressed through planning, tendering of a construction firm and contract administration. The principal contractor was Neville Special Projects of Luton.
The new building features a zinc-covered barrel shaped roof and off-white rendered walls. The interiors are bright and colourful, with acoustic wall and ceiling panels adding visual interest whilst helping to absorb excess noise. There are specialist facilities for the children too, including a changing/shower room with floor hoist. Each classroom has been provided with its own separate entrance, and outside there are play areas with Perspex canopies and a pencil fence in primary colours.
Deputy Principal Shelley Flynn said: “Our project had tight timescales in order to be ready for pupils and their teachers this September. PCMS Design were invaluable in managing the project process which, along with their superb design skills, has delivered a great building. The Academy now has a modern, well-designed classroom block that everyone is proud of.”
We were very pleased to attend the official opening last week of one of our pre-school projects in Caddington, near Dunstable. Bishop Peter Doyle from the Diocese of Northampton performed the ribbon-cutting duties at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School.
Pupils, staff and governors were delighted to have the Bishop officiating, and he was genuinely impressed by the range of facilities on offer for children from the age of two years upwards.
Our building design includes a large multi-purpose playroom, with a separate kitchenette and office, and is able to run independently without need to use the welfare facilities of the school next door. An outside play space is also provided, part-covered with a canopy for wetter days. Up to 24 children can attend each session.
The project was completed on time and within budget. Headteacher Steve Chiswell said: “Everyone from PCMS were brilliant throughout, really cannot speak highly enough of you all, so thank you.”
We have recently completed a building improvement project at Raynsford Academy in Henlow. Our changes incorporated a side extension to an existing classroom so that the Reception class could be relocated, leaving a large internal space available for the local village pre-school. Our design also included reconfiguration of the central area to create separate WCs for the Reception class and Pre-School, with a shared group room.
A large new external play canopy has been installed to wrap around the building serving the Reception class play area, and it also creates a covered entrance to the Pre-School. Formed from powder-coated steel posts and Perspex, play canopies such as these are becoming an essential feature of all primary schools so that the curriculum requirement to provide external play can still be followed in all weathers.
Our design scheme has delivered additional space for the school with only a modest extension, by creatively re-designing the internal spaces and ancillary facilities. As part of the works, the existing car park was extended to create six additional parking spaces.