Governors call for corrections to Woodlands Meed college plans

Governors have asked West Sussex County Council to make more than 180 corrections to plans and documents relating to a new college for children with special needs.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 3:10 pm

Work on Woodlands Meed College, in Birchwood Grove Road, Burgess Hill, is scheduled to start in July – but supporters have been put ‘on notice’ that this might not happen so soon.

An update on the special school’s website said there had been ‘persistent delays’ in providing plans and documentation to the school for review and approval.

It added: “Following this review, the school required more than 180 corrections, and we have been waiting for responses from [the county council].

“It has been possible to resolve many of the corrections, but a number remain outstanding.

“It should be clear that these are not ‘nice to have items’, but critically important for our students.”

Earlier this year, the council signed a contract committing up to £20m of capital funding for the new college, which is scheduled to be completed in December 2022.

ISG, which has a successful track record of building schools, including special schools, was named as the contractor and planning permission was given in April.

A council spokesman said the project was ‘on target’ and the aim was to hold another public engagement at the end of May or the beginning of June to bring people up to date.

He added: “The project remains on target to complete the new build by December 2022, with the demolition and external areas completed by June 2023, as recently announced.

“Planning approval was granted at the end of March and the design team have been working closely with our special educational needs team, the college and governors and discussions are ongoing.

“During this process the college has requested design changes, of which the majority are being incorporating into the final designs.

“When the design is agreed the programme will be reviewed to confirm the relevant start dates.

“We know there is huge interest in Woodlands Meed from everyone associated with the college and we would like to reiterate our commitment to this important project and that the overall completion dates currently remain on target and within budget.”