The chance to redevelop a Luton secondary school has been described as “a privilege” which should be welcomed.
Plans to demolish Putteridge High School and its leisure centre, and provide a new school with a two-storey sports hall and parking, have been approved.
The school became an academy in 2016 and is one of 12 which are part of the Chiltern Learning Trust, according to a report to the borough council’s development control committee.
“There are single and two-storey school buildings sprawled across the ten-acre site, as well as a disused sport and leisure centre,” said the report.
“A three-storey teaching block will be located at the front of the site, with a separate two-storey sports hall towards the back.
“The current buildings will be demolished once the new school is completed.”
Access to the premises will be from Putteridge Road and Edgewood Drive, and the number of parking spaces will increase from 84 to 120.
Planning consultant for the project Karen Beech said: “This full application is for a new teaching building, a sports hall and three hard courts to replace the current Putteridge High School.
“It was built in the 1970s, and the buildings are now outdated and sprawled across the site.
“The new school will continue to cater for 1,200 pupils, and there’ll be no increase in that capacity.
“We are working within Department for Education funding timelines. It’s critical we keep to the timescales involved.
“Any delays could result in funding for the project being transferred to other schools.”
She told the committee that considerations in designing the school included limiting the impact on local residents and a phased development to minimise disruption to pupils’ education.
“The use of the sports facilities by the local community is important to the school,” she added.
“There will be a car park management plan secured by planning conditions to manage parking for the school and the community sports facilities.”
Labour Farley councillor Dave Taylor, who chairs the committee, asked what measures were in place to control piling work.
“If it’s from 5am until midnight in a densely populated area that would be particularly annoying,” he said.
The planning consultant replied that the construction plan recommendation was 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, with no work at the weekend or on bank holidays unless agreed with the local authority.
Labour Farley councillor Mahmood Hussain said: “When we had a brand new school called The Stockwood Park Academy we were so pleased because the previous one was falling to bits.
“To have a new school these days, with the sort of funding this government gives, it’s a privilege to have that.
“Investment like that is a brilliant thing to have. In the interest of the children we do want the facilities to be state-of-the-art.”
Councillor Taylor agreed, saying: “The lights don’t go off at 5pm at The Stockwood Park Academy, when the school closes.
“It’s quite heartening to see the floodlights and classroom lights on for community use up to 10pm, and that’s something we cherish.”
Applicant Kier Construction Limited’s scheme to rebuild the school was backed by the committee.