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Planning application submitted for Baytree Special School expansion

12:49pm - 30 April 2020

Following extensive pre-planning work and consultations last year, a planning application has been submitted today to North Somerset Council to expand Baytree Special School. 

The application seeks permission to build a second site for Baytree on land adjacent to Brookfield Walk in Clevedon.

The number of children with special needs and disabilities is growing and the application is being made in response to the need for extra local pupil places.

Ed Bowen-Roberts, the Headteacher of Baytree Special School, said: “I can’t emphasise strongly enough how desperately we need our school to expand so that we can continue to provide education and support to children from across North Somerset with such significant needs.

“In an ideal world we’d want to expand on a single site, but that’s just not possible for us. The proposals for the second site at Brookfield Walk are tremendously exciting and will allow us to continue with our mission to make sure that every child, regardless of their condition, can get the education and support they need to achieve life goals.”

A consultation ran last autumn seeking views of local people on the need to create more places for pupils with severe and profound learning difficulties and 96 per cent of the 428 people who responded agreed there is a need.

The current school site at Locking Castle in Weston-super-Mare cannot expand its pupil numbers because its site is shared with Herons’ Moor Academy and the services offered at The Campus and local children’s centre.

Cllr Catherine Gibbons, the council’s executive member for children’s services said: “This application forms part of a wider strategy to increase the numbers of places for children with special educational needs and disabilities that are desperately needed to meet increasing demand. If approved it will ensure the school’s facilities across the two sites are appropriate to the higher numbers of pupils with profound and complex needs.

“The site at Brookfield Walkwill accommodate up to 85 pupils and has been chosen because it has good access from across North Somerset allowing for easier journeys for our children with the most severe needs.”

The new building is intended to meet the needs of current and future pupils with profound and severe learning needs and has been designed to provide an exciting and accessible learning environment in keeping with the beautiful natural surroundings.

The application will form part of a 16-week statutory process to determine whether permission can be granted for the scheme. It includes all relevant supporting documentation, alongside an assessment of 528 alternative sites that have been considered, and ecology and noise assessments.

It’s intended that the school will encompass as much of the natural ecosystem of the local area as a new building can permit.

The application will run in parallel with the recent Town and Village Green application submitted by local residents and is not intended to pre-empt a determination of that separate application. It’s hoped the application will be considered by councillors at a meeting of the planning committee in autumn 2020.

Cllr Gibbons added: “While the application has been delayed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, we are now keen to move the project forward and we need to obtain planning permission for this to happen. I would encourage everyone who has a view on the school’s expansion to make their comments through the planning process.”

The planning application number is 20/P/0605/R3 and the application can be accessed online, where you’ll find more information on the proposed expansion.