THE Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy (IPACA) has won its appeal to build a new £14m campus at Southwell Business Park.
Planning inspector Neil Pope has overturned the decision of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s planning committee to refuse permission for the build at Maritime House.
His decision was announced following a planning inquiry which was held at the Heights Hotel. The inquiry started in January and was then postponed, resuming again in March.
Alison Appleyard, principal of the Academy, described the decision as ‘significant’ and one that would have major benefits for all young people on Portland, as well as the wider community.
She said: “The new campus has always been an integral part of our vision to create a world-class Academy for our learners. An Academy that Portland can be proud of. It will enable us to deliver exceptional education based on our unique mix of stage-not-age, all-through-learning, digital learning, entrepreneurship and a one-big-family ethos.
“We are passionate about ensuring that all of our learners achieve the highest standards, skills and qualifications. Our new campus, with its 21st century facilities, will make a real difference.”
IPACA is based at four existing Portland schools on five separate campuses.
The plan was for the academy to be split across two sites, Southwell, and the newly-built one at Osprey Quay.
Plans for the campus included alterations, extensions, a new sports hall and sports fields as well as re-organisation and additions to road, footpath and cycle routes.
The proposals for the Southwell Business Park site had been rejected by councillors on several grounds.
They argued the development of the proposed sports hall was outside the development boundary, It was also suggested the traffic proposals would have a significant amenity impact and highway safety implications for Sweet Hill and Avalanche Road.
Mrs Appleyard said: “We consulted extensively with the authorities, listened to our parents and local residents, and incorporated a lot of amendments into the final plans that went to the original hearing and were reconsidered by the Inspector at appeal.”
Plans for the construction will now be further developed with students hoping to be moved to the new campus by September 2015.
Ms Appleyard said: “We will ensure that learners, parents and carers, our staff and the local community are kept informed throughout that process.”
Panel: Appeal notice
The appeal decision notice states: ‘The appeal is allowed and planning permission is granted for alterations and extensions to existing buildings and construction of new sports hall in association with change of use from employment and leisure to educational use (Use Class D1), provide sports fields, reorganise internal road system and parking and modify main site access from Sweet Hill Road, provide new shared footway/cycleway link to Sweet Hill Lane, upgrade existing footpath to Reap Lane and provide new link to the south of 73-78 Reap Lane to provide shared footway/cycleway at Maritime House, Southwell Business Park, Isle of Portland, Dorset, DT5 2NS.’