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Major school revamp plan submitted

Minerva Education has submitted a planing application to Hart District Council which includes plans for a new sports hall and a new swimming pool

Trevor and Michele Pipe have been at Hawley Place more than 20 years

A school's major 10-year revamp plan has been revealed as a bid to start the first phase is submitted.

A new sports hall, swimming pool, footpath and refurbished buildings are in the pipeline for Hawley Place School in Blackwater.

Minerva Education, which took over the school at the end of last year, have submitted a planing application to Hart District Council requesting permission to create a new pedestrian and emergency vehicle road linking the nursery to the school’s main entrance.

The proposed 80m road is expected to cost around £50,000 and will be gated at one end so that it can only be used by pedestrians and emergency vehicles.

Tommy MacDonald-Milner, chief executive of Minerva Education, said: “There was previously a footpath running from the school’s upper car park to the nursery but this has overgrown and fallen into disrepair.

“The current route is treacherous for parents with young children particularly in pushchairs.

“Anyone wanting to get to the nursery now have to go around the back of buildings and down two sets of steps.

“The new tarmac path will be lit and user-friendly.”

Mr MacDonald-Milner said the new route would also give the nursery its own identity and “enforce the nursery’s excellence”, after it was recent as outstanding in all areas by the Independent Schools Association.

Trevor and Michèle Pipe, principals of the private school in Fernhill Road, plan to retire at the end of this academic year, after more than two decades at the helm.

Last October they sold the school company – Hawley Place School Limited – and the freehold site to Minerva Education, a company that owns schools in London and across the south-east of England.Minerva Education has big plans to develop the premises.

Mr MacDonald-Milner added: “We are working on a five-year-plan for Hawley Place School to tidy up pre-fabricated buildings, build a new sports hall and swimming pool.

“When we acquired the freehold land we embarked on a development plan and we have submitted a longer 10-year development plan to the council.”

The overall budget for the works is yet to be decided but it would be a “significant investment”, said Mr MacDonald-Milner.

It is expected that the new road will be completed by August ready for the new school year, if planning permission is granted.

A public consultation on the proposal was launched on Tuesday and will close on July 3.

Parents and residents can comment via the council webiste at www.hart.gov.uk.

 

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