School’s plan for sports hall faces a minor hiccup

Gildredge House, Eastbourne SUS-141007-150545001
Gildredge House, Eastbourne SUS-141007-150545001

Gildredge House Free School has been forced to take a step back in their quest to build a new sports hall after plans for the design were changed.

The planning committee approved plans for a four-court sports hall on the site in September 2013 but once building began, it became apparent that the construction was smaller than originally agreed and had adopted a different appearance in order to save costs.

Eastbourne Borough Council informed the building contractors they must re-apply for retrospective planning permission following the alterations.

The planning committee met on Tuesday, July 8 to discuss the revised plans, which were for a three-court hall and for a red, cedar cladding system with exposed supporting superstructure surrounding the existing grey building.

Councillors expressed concerns that the size of the revised building was too small to accommodate enough students but the planning officer stated that combined with the current outdoor space for sport and recreation, the size was sufficient.

The cedar cladding was welcomed as an improved alternative to the grey exterior of the building currently being erected at the site, which was stated as representing a ‘industrial metal container’.

The planning committee approved the revised plans by six votes to zero, with one abstention, on the condition that the cedar cladding is treated to maintain its red colour.

The plans will now have to go through another consultation with local residents and interested parties to approve the changes. The South Downs National Park Authority has been consulted on the plans as the building can be seen from the Downs, but has yet to provide a response. Once the results of the public consultation come through, the plans will again be referred to the planning officer.

A second application proposing modifications to the external fabric of the school campus, including remodelling window openings and reducing the extent of glazing in favour of brickwork, were unanimously approved by the committee.