Fuller Long have worked on a project for the Department for Education for Chatten Free School at Rickstones Road, Rivenhall, Essex, which is a special educational needs school.

The new school, which is currently under construction and almost complete, will give 75 pupils in the age range of 4 to 18 with ASC and severe language and learning delays much needed specialist care with a focus on delivering education. The new school will be split into 15 classes, employing more than 100 specialist staff to ensure each pupil is taught on a one-to-one basis.

Through the use of the Council’s pre-application process, our planning team worked to address a number of areas of concern including design and highways. In particular, Sport England formally objected to the proposal as the school’s proposed location was on the former playing fields of the New Rickstones Academy. However we successfully persuaded Essex County Council that the benefits to the community outweighed the loss of the playing field.

Our planning team managed the entire planning process including the project management of all other consultants namely, transport, ecology, architects, drainage, noise, archaeology, the preparation of the supporting planning statement as well as community engagement through local paper advertisements and a public consultation evening inviting local residents to view the proposals prior to submission.

The project originally intended to go to the planning committee for determination but this fell around the start of lockdown and the chairman of the planning committee agreed with the officers recommendations to approve the application. Due to the objection from Sport England, the application was referred to the Secretary of State, however they did not wish to intervene in the determination of the application and the decision notice was issued.

We have since worked on discharging a number of pre-commencement and prior to occupation conditions in relation to this project including minimising flood risk during construction, external materials, landscape and planting scheme, surface water drainage and the most recent external lighting. The construction of the school is now almost complete.