Planning application lodged for first of 10 new community primary schools for North Solihull

(5th July 2006)

The North Solihull Partnership has today lodged a planning application for the first of 10 pioneering 'extended primary schools' to act as an all encompassing community facility. The replacement Kingshurst Primary School will be the first to be constructed within the £60million budget allocation to provide each child in North Solihull with a place in a new primary school. 

This key milestone for the £1.8bn Regenerating North Solihull initiative illustrates the Partnership's commitment to deliver real change to the 40,000-strong community very early on in the 15 year project. With preliminary talks already underway with a number of contractors, and Solihull Council's planning approval process expected to take as little as 12 weeks, the new Kingshurst Primary School could be open for business as early as September 2007.

Paul Hanbury, Director of North Solihull Primary School Regeneration commented: "The decision to fast track the delivery of the first new primary school in North Solihull was taken following extensive community consultation. Ensuring children want to come to school, raising their academic achievements and expectations, and improving the quality of family and community life is at the centre of the changes we have proposed for the area.

"Being able to open the doors to a new, state of the art school in only 14 months time will deliver a resounding message to the 40,000 residents that live in North Solihull. The building will act as an all-encompassing facility incorporating a nursery, a Children's Centre, Lifelong Learning facilities, ICT resources that can be accessed by parents and the local community, and a comprehensive extended school programme."

The new Kingshurst Primary School will accommodate 420 infants and juniors, as well as a 60-place nursery, and proposals are for the building to be open and operational from 8am until at least 6pm, five days a week, 50 weeks a year. Subject to planning, the two-form entry building will be around 31,000sq ft (2,900m). 

The new building will be sited on part of the existing Kingshurst School playing fields, which will be duly replaced once the existing school building is closed in July 2007. The new school has been designed by Architects Design Partnership LLP (ADP), and Lend Lease Projects is project managing the design and construction process.

Paul Hanbury added: "One of the key principles in the delivery of the £1.8bn investment programme is to minimise disruption to the community. We are demonstrating this principle by constructing the new Kingshurst Primary School alongside the existing building, so that school children will be able to say goodbye to their current classrooms at the end of one term and walk into their new building at the start of the next."                              

Design elements that have been proposed in the planning application include a two-storey state of the art building with a living grass roof. Ground floor classrooms will be able to directly access secure outdoor classrooms, and a low-rise wind turbine that is sensitive to the surrounding residential properties will contribute to energy resources, as well as doubling as an educational tool.

The anticipated new Kingshurst School will also include a 'wrap a round' nursery facility, which will provide pre-school children from age three upwards with free sessions for half a day, five days a week, which can be topped up to enable the child to stay in the same facility throughout the day. Meanwhile the proposed Children's Centre, which would also be located within the new main school building, will enable many Primary Care Trust (PCT) services, such as speech therapy for children and midwifery to be accessed on site.

Environmentally sound child-friendly materials will be used wherever possible to enhance the feeling of safety, remove the risk of injury, and crucially to create a welcoming environment at the proposed new school. Creating the right balance of light levels whilst avoiding problematic glare from sunlight is another design objective, together with ensuring the new building will assist teachers in transforming all aspects of learning for children - rather than acting as a constant obstacle - as is the case with many 1960s school buildings.  

The submission of this planning application follows the recent second stage of intensive Neighbourhood Planning consultation in Kingshurst and Babbs Mill. As part of the overall proposals for the area, the community is being consulted on what will be included within a new village centre, which is to be located next to Kingshurst School, enabling local people to enjoy first-rate access to state-of-the-art facilities. 

Alongside the 10 new primary schools that are being delivered as part of the 15 year project, 12,500 existing homes are being improved, 8,000 new homes will be built and five new village centres will be created at a cost of £100million, incorporating enhanced local healthcare provision and additional community facilities. North Solihull's area-changing programme has been brought about because its three wards of Chelmsley Wood, Smith's Wood and Kingshurst & Fordbridge fall within the UK's top 10 per cent of deprived neighbourhoods.

The North Solihull Partnership, a development consortium consisting of housebuilder Bellway Homes, investment-led regeneration company Inpartnership, Solihull Council and Registered Social Landlord Whitefriars Housing Group is responsible for the pioneering programme.

Paul Hanbury concluded: "Following on from the pilot Kingshurst Primary School project, a further nine new extended primary schools will be created in the area, injecting a total of £60million into the education of children aged from three to 11. In addition, the Building Schools for the Future project - which North Solihull is privileged to be in receipt of the first wave of funding for - will deliver inspirational secondary schools for all, marking an additional £84m of investment in learning.

"This intensive investment injection in new educational facilities in one concentrated area has not been seen in the UK since the 1960s. We have a remarkable opportunity in North Solihull to transform education and raise achievement, and we recognise that in doing so, this project will command not only national but international attention."


For further info, please contact Charlotte Crossley, Core Marketing, 0121 643 8151.

Notes to editors:

Architects Design Partnership has extensive previous experience in creating award winning, inspirational schools, such as Riverhead Infants School in Kent, which won a national award for its grassed roof, a commendation from the Civic Trust, and was awarded 'Building of the Year' in the Kent Design Awards 2003. Furthermore, the School was given the 'Outstanding' score in its recent Ofsted inspection.

Lend Lease Projects has developed a considerable reputation in the education sector, managing the delivery of schools projects as well as faculty buildings, sports facilities, lecture theatres, learning resource centres and student accommodation for colleges and universities, across the UK.