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Herts County Council reveals plans for new Stortford Fields primary

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Residents of Stortford Fields have been given a first chance to comment on detailed plans for the estate's primary school.

Education authority Hertfordshire County Council has begun consultation on the scheme for a campus next to Newland Avenue and the access road to Wickham Hall farm and business park.

The school, to be called Avanti Brook, will be the town's 13th primary school and the second for the Bishop's Stortford North development. If all goes to plan, it will open in September 2023.

Avanti Brook plans (52411532)
Avanti Brook plans (52411532)

The first, Avanti Meadows, opened at St Michael's Hurst in September. The arrival of its first pupils was postponed for a year because of Covid-19. Next year some of its buildings will accommodate the first students for the Avanti Grange secondary, which is yet to be built but will straddle the A120 and be ready for a first cohort of 180 students from September 2023.

All three are being run by the Avanti Schools Trust, a Hindu organisation that has branched out into non-faith schools.

Avanti Brook will be a two-form-of-entry (2FE) primary school for Key Stages 1 and 2 with up to 60 pupils in each year.

Avanti Brook plans (52411528)
Avanti Brook plans (52411528)

It will also include a specialist resource provision (SRP) classroom for 12 pupils, as well as a 30-place nursery with two sessions per day.

Planning permission was granted in April 2016 but not implemented because of lack of demand as the number of houses being built at Stortford Fields was lower than expected.

The new design has been tweaked to make it more environmentally sustainable – the previous mono-pitch and dual-pitch roofs are now flat roofs with parapet walls to allow for the addition of solar panels and for other renewable energy technology to be incorporated. There will be no fossil fuel usage.

The primary will be a U-shaped building with eight junior classrooms in the western wing. The eastern wing will accommodate four infant and two reception classrooms, a nursery room and the SRP classroom. Additional SEN (special educational needs) therapy and resource rooms, as well as group rooms for the SRP classroom, are also proposed.

Avanti Meadows Primary School at St Michael's Hurst in Farnham Road. Pic: Vikki Lince
Avanti Meadows Primary School at St Michael's Hurst in Farnham Road. Pic: Vikki Lince

To the front, there will be a staff room and administrative offices, library, main hall with interconnected studio room, a kitchen and associated plant room and service yard.

There will be 44 parking spaces for staff and visitors but no drop-off or pick-up facility. Instead, it is proposed that parents who are not able to walk or cycle their children to school will be able to use the nearby Western Neighbourhood Centre as a 'park and stride' facility. Cycle and scooter parking will be provided for pupils.

Cllr Terry Douris, HCC's executive member for education, said: "Feedback is very important to us and we are keen to seek people's views on the current proposals before the final scheme is prepared and submitted for planning permission. If everything goes to plan and permission is granted, this new school will be open to the children of Bishop's Stortford North from September 2023."

Avanti (52411377)
Avanti (52411377)

For more details and to comment, see avantibrookprimary-consultation.co.uk.

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