Rushmere: New classroom planned to match rise in pupil numbers

Growing pupils at Rushmere Hall Primary School have prompted new classroom plans

Growing pupils at Rushmere Hall Primary School have prompted new classroom plans - Credit: Andy Abbott

A primary school on the fringe of Ipswich is looking to build six new classrooms in response to a forecasted surge in pupil numbers.

Rushmere Hall Primary is expected to see pupils numbers grow from 540 to 630 by September 2017, after its entry year group increased this term from two classes to three.

Suffolk County Council is applying to build a standalone, six-classroom extension with shared toilet and group room, to cope with the extra demand, and is due to make a decision on the plans on Tuesday, September 16.

Previous expansion plans, involving the existing building, were withdrawn after the school was listed Grade II in July 2013 in recognition of its “national importance as an excellent example of spacious, low-rise school planning in the immediate post-war period”.

A report on the proposal, produced by planning officer Mark Barnard, states: “The present application reflects the advice received from county council historic buildings and planning officers, as well as Ipswich Borough Council and English Heritage, and seeks to enlarge the school while safeguarding its historic and architectural interest.”

The new classroom block would be located on the western side of the Lanark Road site, partly on the hard play area and partly in a small copse containing trees and scrub.

Although the trees in the copse are described as “low quality” the application makes provision to compensate for their loss, with new planing to the east of the building.

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“It is also proposed to enhance the school’s historic orchard, and a management plan for this site has been prepared by the Suffolk Traditional Orchard Group, setting out phases of improvement work up to 2018,” the report states.

One neighbouring resident has submitted objections to the application, citing concerns about a lack of on-site parking for staff, leading to parking on the road outside their house. The report claims, however, that the 16 additional car parking spaces, created earlier this year, are “sufficient” to cater for the extra staff, whose numbers are expected to rise from 55 full-time and 11 part-time to 64 full-time and 14 part-time by 2017.

The design of the building itself has been praised by the head of planning at the county council who states in the report that it would “echo the strong horizontal form and low eaves height of the existing building.”

The report concludes: “The proposed development would provide much needed modern accommodation for the expanding school, in a location which enables the school to continue to function well.”