Second phase of expansion plans at special educational needs school in Leagrave get the go ahead

Plans include two new extension plus parking and a play area
Planning documents show what the expansion would look like. Picture: Luton Borough CouncilPlanning documents show what the expansion would look like. Picture: Luton Borough Council
Planning documents show what the expansion would look like. Picture: Luton Borough Council

A second phase of redevelopment of the former Leagrave Educational Training Centre in Luton is set to proceed and will increase the size of the Lady Zia Werner School in Strangers Way.

Applicant Luton Borough Council submitted proposals for internal remodelling of the current premises and the building of two new extensions, with parking and a play area, to form phase two of a new special educational needs school.

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The building was originally an infants school, which was closed in 1998 after its amalgamation with the junior school to form Leagrave Primary School, according to a report to the borough council’s development management committee.

A large single-storey building on the site is surrounded by a large parking area and several trees, said the report.

“Leagrave Primary School is directly opposite the application site, which was used more recently under local authority ownership as a training and conference venue with offices for at least 10 years.

“Phase one of this development was approved in April 2023 and is occupied now, while phase two involves converting and changing the use of the premises from training to a special educational needs school through the two extensions.

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“Strangers Way is subject to a 20mph speed limit with traffic calming measures in the form of speed cushions and a raised zebra crossing. School ‘keep clear’ restrictions are in place on the western side of the carriageway to support the primary school.”

LBC planning team leader Clive inwards explained: “This is phase two of the repurposing of the Leagrave Centre to a special educational needs school, after phase one was implemented last year.

“Phase two provides for an extra 88 pupils and 60 staff, enabling 128 pupils altogether to have a school place with 90 staff, as well as parking, drop-off space and a play area.

“The two new extensions are single-storey. The development includes several new classrooms, and hydrotherapy, sport and music rooms for the pupils.

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“Part of the building already has planning permission for special educational needs school under the phase one application.

“Outside the application process, the local highways and local education authority are considering a traffic exclusion zone to address safety issues raised by the primary school.

“The highways engineer doesn’t consider the extra staff and students using the school will result in an increase in vehicle trip numbers which would be to the detriment of highway safety.”

LBC highways officer Chris Godden said: “Around 75 to 80 per cent of the pupils will arrive by minibus, so it’s entirely safe in that respect.

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“The applicant LBC will pay for the traffic exclusion zone work, which will be an experimental order to be introduced around May. The times are still to be set, but are likely to be 8.30am to 9.30am and 3pm to 4pm.

“This will exclude traffic from the front of both schools, unless a permit is held. These will be issued free for staff, to the less mobile and to residents in that area. It’ll be camera controlled, so fines can be issued.”

Councillors unanimously agreed the development.