New special educational needs school in Luton given green light by council

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Plans for a new special educational needs (SEN) to meet the above average local demand in Luton has been approved by the council’s planning committee.

A new 112-pupil SEN secondary school in Luton will help meet the greater local demand for such provision than the national average, a meeting heard.

Plans for the building with a hydrotherapy pool, changing rooms and respite centre facilities in Kestrel Way were submitted by the local authority. The site was until recently occupied by a telecommunications mast.

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It would be a mainly two-storey building, with three wings to accommodate the pool, the respite centre and a hall, according to a report to the borough council’s development management committee.

The proposed layout of the school. Picture: Luton Borough CouncilThe proposed layout of the school. Picture: Luton Borough Council
The proposed layout of the school. Picture: Luton Borough Council

The report said there would be 14 classrooms, 60 parking spaces, two minibus bays and storage for 28 bicycles.

It read: “The hydrotherapy pool would be open to the public outside school hours.

“A 60-metre radio telecommunications mast was put up there in the 1980s, with a small service store. The application site is unallocated within the adopted Luton Local Plan 2011 to 2031.”

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LBC’s head of planning Sunny Sahadevan told the committee: “This area is known locally as the Aerial site.

“The new school will be largely two-storey,” he said. “It would cater for 112 pupils and 70 staff.

“More than 50 neighbours were consulted, with only two objections. These related to potential on street parking demands. Most of the pupils attending will use minibus and coaches, so we don’t think there’ll be an adverse impact on the highway.

“The council has a need for more education facilities and an even greater requirement for special educational needs provision. There’s a higher than average demand in respect of special needs pupils. Nationally it’s 34.9 per cent, while in Luton 45 per cent.”

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Two phases of development are planned with the main school building and pool built in phase one and the respite provision in phase two, explained the report.

It stated: “This application seeks planning permission for both phases, with the phase two area used as an external playground until the respite centre is built. The school building will be set back from the road to allow for parking at the front.

“Prior approval was granted last July for ‘the demolition and removal of the transmission mast, telecom lines and other development, with the restoration of the site’. The mast has been removed.

“A prior approval application was granted for a 20 metre high monopole supporting six antennas and two transmission dishes, four equipment cabinets and other works.

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“The telecommunications equipment is located on the public footpath next to this site and has replaced the old equipment. There are two accesses from Kestrel Way, which allows for a one-way system within the site.

“All pupils will be dropped off and picked up within the site confines, which the highways engineer considers appropriate and safe,” added the report.

“Based on the nature of the proposal, it’s not considered to have a detrimental impact on the viability or vitality of a district or neighbourhood centre and will comply with planning policy.”

Labour Farley councillor Dave Taylor, who chairs the committee, said: “We should welcome this application for such a secondary school, which is much-needed in the town.”

Councillors unanimously approved the development.

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