School’s redevelopment plan turned down by council officials

Hinchingbrooke School

Hinchingbrooke School - Credit: Archant

A secondary school’s application for a three-storey building to house 15 science labs has been turned down by Huntingdonshire District Council.

Hinchingbrooke School in Huntingdon wanted to demolish a classroom and replace it with state-of-the-art facilities.

Huntingdon Town Council and English Heritage both recommended approval of the plans but the district council’s planners ruled the proposal did not meet the required design standards, as set out in national and the council’s own planning guidelines, and would cause “substantial harm” to the area.

Hinchingbrooke School sits on a site of particular historic interest, with the Grade I listed Hinchingbrooke House and a Grade II listed former Benedictine Nunery both enjoying protection from development.

In the refusal notice, council planners said: “It is considered that the development of the three-storey building will cause harm to the conservation area, due to the loss of the trees, the opening up of views of adjacent existing buildings - through the removal of the tree cover - and by virtue of the design of the building itself.

Planners also criticised the style of the proposed building, labelling it “poor”.

The notice said: “There is no defining architectural style for this part of the conservation area but the design of the proposed building is considered to be poor and not suitable for the site.

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“The massing of the building is unrelieved and flat and the specification of lead coloured ply membrane roof is unfortunate considering the size and prominence of the roof.”

Planners also said the proposed removal of trees as part of the plans was “unacceptable”.

The school has six months to appeal the decision to the Planning Inspectorate.