Woodlands Meed school in Burgess Hill ‘quietly optimistic’ about future of college site

Woodlands Meed school in Burgess Hill
Woodlands Meed school in Burgess Hill

Plans for a new Woodlands Meed college building have reached an ‘exciting stage’.

Marion Wilcock, chair of governors, and Adam Rowland, headteacher of Woodlands Meed in Burgess Hill, said this week that they were ‘quietly optimistic’ about the college’s future.

Adam Rowland, headteacher of Woodlands Meed in Burgess Hill. Picture: Steve Robards

Adam Rowland, headteacher of Woodlands Meed in Burgess Hill. Picture: Steve Robards

“We are now working with West Sussex County Council,” said Mrs Wilcock.

“We are quietly optimistic and we are making good progress. We are now moving into the exciting stage in looking into the design of the college.

“The school may have been ambitious in hoping for a September 2020 completion, having not allowed for the labyrinthine council procedure and decision making process.

“However, all parties are aware of the current rising cost of building materials and tender prices, so that it is in everyone’s interest for the project to be expedited as soon as possible.”

West Sussex county councillors discussing the Woodlands Meed college site at a CLC meeting in June

West Sussex county councillors discussing the Woodlands Meed college site at a CLC meeting in June

Mrs Wilcock said a sports hall is planned and that it may be possible to incorporate a larger hall which would allow wider use by the disabled community and adjoining school.

She said the school has already met a number of relevant bodies and is currently drafting the business case to support its application.

She added: “Lines of communication have been opened with Birchwood Grove School, adjoining house owners and the Local Planning Authority.

“Once there is a preliminary layout scheme the school will hold a consultation with all interested parties. The school will continue to keep staff, parents and carers updated.”

Mr Rowland said the accommodation which the college requires and which meets DfE requirements has already been agreed.

He added: “Preliminary surveys carried out during the school holidays have confirmed that there are no site issues with this scheme.

“The school is working with the county council to develop a more detailed design of the layout and construction.”

The special school has been working to ensure a new college building replaces the old prefabricated building in Birchwood Grove Road.

Parents have also long been campaigning for a permanent college to be built but the money to do so has not been available.

People are invited to a County Local Committee meeting on October 30, at Haywards Heath Library where an update is expected.

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