Relocation of school takes step forward

An artist's view of the new school at Poundbury

An artist's view of the new school at Poundbury

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Dorchester reporter

A NEW school at Poundbury has moved a step closer after a planning application was submitted.

Dorset County Council is hoping to relocate Damers School to a new facility at Prince Charles’ model development in time for the 2016 school year.

A public consultation exercise recently gave people the chance to have their say on the proposals for the new school, which will cater for 600 pupils.

Now the council has moved forward to a planning application and cabinet member for education Toni Coombs said she was pleased to see that progress was being made with the proposed school.

She said: “Local authorities across the country are faced with increasing demand for school places and we have a duty to make sure that all children in Dorset have access to good quality education in accommodation that is fit for purpose. With this in mind, I am very pleased the relocation of Damers First School to Poundbury has reached the planning application stage. The new school will create an additional 150 places, and is good news for families in Dorchester.”

The proposed new school will be around 1km from the existing Damers School on a site overlooking the Great Field.

The plans include a hall that could serve as the new home for the Dorchester Community Church as well as being used by the school and local community.

The new school will boast 20 classrooms as well as a playing field, sports court, playground and soft play areas all enclosed within the secure boundary of the site and there will be a parking area that will be restricted for staff parking during school hours and available to the general public at other times.

Included with the planning submission is a sustainable travel plan and a letter from head of Damers School Catherine Smith, expressing the support for the move from school staff and children.

The letter states: “Although our provision has been delivered effectively from our current premises for many years, there are constant challenges to maintain high standards of education within increasingly overcrowded spaces.

“The opportunity to function within a purpose-built space will enable statutory elements of all areas of the curriculum to be delivered effectively.”

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