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Drainage hitch for Stortford school's science scheme

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General Views - File Shots Bishops Stortford Hockerill Anglo-European College
General Views - File Shots Bishops Stortford Hockerill Anglo-European College

A new science block at Hockerill Anglo-European College can be constructed - provided drainage provision passes Thames Water's litmus test.

At their latest development management committee meeting, East Herts Council members unanimously authorised officers to grant planning permission under delegated powers, provided the school’s proposal to link to the main sewer in Bishop’ Stortford is approved.

The Dunmow Road secondary’s principal Richard Markham had asked the councillors to give the scheme a pass mark without delay, subject to a condition that agreement is reached about surface water.

He told the committee that pupil numbers had increased by 130 to 850 from 2000 without any improvement in science facilities. Hockerill offers the International Baccalaureate and all students study science. He said the school had been saving for six years to pay for the upgrade.

The new science building will replace an existing temporary science teaching block approved in 2007. Facilities are currently divided between Durham House and the two science labs in the temporary building to the west of the application site. The application proposes approximately 1,200 sq m (12,916 sq ft) of science teaching space in two phases. The first phase comprises the eastern part of the building with six new science teaching spaces. The second is a smaller western section of the building with two additional teaching spaces.

The school, which has many listed buildings within the town’s conservation area, is also bidding to build a sports hall the size of four badminton courts, with changing facilities for 60 pupils, disabled changing and a reception area.

The scheme includes the potential to make the facility a larger, Sport England-standard community sports hall if future funding allows. A similar scheme in 2012 failed because it was unaffordable.

The application also includes a new access from Stortford Hall Park and parking area – 14 spaces, one disabled bay and room for a minibus – to make the hall more easily available for use by the community.

At the latest meeting of Bishop’s Stortford Town Council planning and development committee, Cllr Norma Symonds argued that no objection should be made to the sports plan.

However, Cllr Stan Stainsby believed the parking provision could prove inadequate, with cars left on surrounding residential streets at peak times.

He said the sports hall was “a great idea” but feared: “Twenty cars would bring this area to a standstill.”

Members agree their concerns should be conveyed to East Herts Council, which will make the final decision.

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