Work underway on new Burgess Hill college

Preparation work for the new Woodlands Meed College is well under way, with fencing erected and a road put in place through the site.

Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 2:51 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 2:59 pm

Construction specialists ISG moved onto the site, in Burgess Hill, in November, and have been publishing regular updates on their progress.

The new year will see work begin on the preparation of the foundations of the new college for children with SEND (special educational needs & disability).

The process will involve sheet piling work and ISG have advised that a number of large vehicles – including a low loader and a 44ft articulated lorry – will be used to deliver the equipment on January 4 and 5.

Other loads will be delivered after 10am across Thursday January 6, Monday January 10, Wednesday January 12, Thursday January 13 and Monday January 17.

Updating parents and neighbours on a dedicated website – buildingwoodlandsmeed.com – a spokesman said: “Given the nature of the site and the proximity of our neighbours, Birchwood Grove Primary School and [the current] Woodlands Meed College, we have prioritised the use of the least intrusive construction technologies, and as a result will be using a virtually silent and vibration-free sheet piling method.”

A video demonstrating the technique can be found on YouTube (search for Fussey Stillworker driving piles).

The spokesman added that ISG had donated surplus wood chippings to Birchwood Grove, which the school had used as a fresh surface for its Wild Wednesday forest school group.

He said: “It was great to see the kids muck in with such enthusiasm, helping to spread out the wood chips to cover their outdoor play area.”

The start of foundation works will be a huge step towards the end of a very long journey for Woodlands Meed.

The campaign stretched back to 2012 when the lower school was built but money for a new college failed to materialise.

But, the £21.6m from West Sussex County Council, coupled with the determination of staff and governors to make sure children have all they need, looks set to make the next steps in the college’s journey much more pleasant.