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Stamford Endowed Schools science block extension approved by South Kesteven District Council





A school will be allowed to extend an ‘ugly’ block despite decision-makers hearing the protests of people living nearby.

Stamford Endowed Schools was given permission to expand its science block off Brazenose Lane and St Paul's Street.

But days later, in January, this decision was revoked after it came to light an administration error at South Kesteven District Council meant residents had not been informed of the meeting date, and none attended to share their views.

The existing science block
The existing science block

On Thursday last week, two residents were allowed three minutes each to lay out 'planning reasons' for refusing the development.

Peter Scott reminded the committee the proposed extension was in Stamford's conservation area and drew attention to the concerns of Stamford Civic Society, which had said "the proposal feels like a series of temporary 'Portacabins' tacked on at either end with cladding added as a disguise.”

He also outlined how St Leonard's Street resident had their planning application turned down recently because it included vertical boarding - something the school's design also incorporates.

One end of the existing science block, photographed from a St Leonard's Street property
One end of the existing science block, photographed from a St Leonard's Street property

Damon Spearpoint then spoke, pointing out the 'two wrongs don't make a right' and: "Adding an inappropriate extension to an inappropriate science block worsens the impact of the building and its effect on the surrounding identity."

At the previous meeting, committee members voted unanimously in favour of the school being allowed the extension, which would bring three new labs and extend an existing one.

But on Thursday Coun Judy Stevens (Con - Deeping St James) announced: "I've changed my mind," adding: "We have got this building now and we are going to compound the felony by building something that's ugly."

Coun Stevens said the schools' argument that the block would only be in use 180 days a year was no comfort for residents, because it would be visible 365 days a year.

A view of the existing science block from a Brazenose Lane property
A view of the existing science block from a Brazenose Lane property

She also suggested a teaching block should be of a more aspirational design, rather than educating pupils "in a bunker".

Echoing the words of the late Baroness Thatcher, she concluded: "This lady is for turning - and I have turned."

Despite sharing her views, she was the sole committee member who voted against the school's plan. Another councillor abstained from the vote.

As a result, Stamford Endowed School will be able to press ahead with its extension, part of a wider plan to switch from single-sex teaching to being fully co-educational from September.

What do you think? Email smeditor@stamfordmercury.co.uk



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