July 1, 2021 11.55 am

Lincoln special needs school expansion to get go-ahead

Former Usher School to rise from ashes

Plans for a major special educational needs expansion for Lincoln St Christopher’s School will be approved next week.

Lincolnshire County Council’s Planning and Regulation Committee will be recommended to give the go-ahead to the authority’s proposals to build a dedicated new 130-place primary school on the site of the former Usher Junior School which was demolished in 2012.

Lincoln St Christophers’ original building will also be extensively redeveloped and remodelled to provide specialist secondary age education.

It is part of £86 million investment across the county to improve Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) education.

The school’s capacity is currently 200, however, it teaches 228 pupils supported by around 90 staff members.

The revamp and build will see the total capacity increase to 333 across both sites – with around 70 staff at each location.

The development forms part of the council’s plans to create more than 500 SEND places across the county, which is backed by an £86 million investment.

An additional 111 places will be needed by 2023, predict the plans.

The new primary school will include 15 classrooms, with four being specifically for “non-ambulant” pupils. There will also be therapy spaces such as sensory and soft play, a large hall and a hydrotherapy pool as well as physiotherapy and medical rooms.

A “poor, unsuitable” block of accommodation will be demolished and replaced by a two-story build of classroom spaces, a new large hall with changing facilities and specialist medical room.

The school’s main entrance will be relocated and staff facilities will be provided on the first floor.

The build will sit on the site of the former Usher Junior School which was demolished in 2012.

No objections have been received to the new school build – though some have asked for a memorial marking the tragic death of a teacher at the school to be maintained.

However, six objections have been received from neighbours to the expansion who have concerns including a loss of privacy, a reduction in light and inadequate boundary fencing.

An officer’s report before councillors next Monday however, said officers were satisfied that the separation distance was “acceptable” adding: “this proposal would not resulting overshadowing or dominance to such a degree that the development would have an unacceptable impact on the amenity of local residents.”

“The benefits to the wider community in respect of access to, and use of, facilities within the school (in particular the more specialist facilities) outweighs any potential minr impact that may arise from their use.”

Officers said the new school building’s layout had been “carefully thought out”.

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