Science Block, St Benedict’s Catholic High School, Bury St Edmunds

Client: Roman Catholic Diocese of East Anglia

In Summer 2018 planning permission was granted for the demolition of the Staff/Admin suite at the front of the school, and a proposal for a new two storey extension that facilitates a new Staff/Admin suite at ground floor level along with six classrooms at first floor level and expansion to the car park (SCC\0026\18SE). The car park expansion and extensive drainage soakaway proposals were carried out at the end of the year however the two storey, six classroom extension has been put to one side and an application for planning permission for six temporary classrooms has been submitted that are planned to be fully operational for September 2019 and the new 2019-20 school year. The units would temporarily be used until new permanent classrooms are erected at the front of the school. The priority is now to provide two new specialist classrooms to facilitate the increased pupil numbers which will integrate with the planning approval granted last year.

Our approach is based on a two storey brick block with a 90 sqm. science lab on each floor with an elegant painted green timber circulation module proposed to wrap around the block and contain a lift, WC and bag storage facilities. A purpose built single storey chemical store and prep room will be located to the rear of the block. The circulation module is designed with a covered external staircase, lift core and balcony space at first floor. The timber aesthetic of the module will be expressed internally and is used as an extended facade and separate cycle shed to lift the front elevation and define the secure school boundary.

The location of the proposal is situated such that the main principles of the previous planning application still apply and when it comes to development in the future it can be easily adapted to the wider expansion plans. As in the previously approved planning application occupying this underused frontage space still proves to be both economical and practical.

The 2018 application was considered to be positive, contributing to providing a degree of uniformity to the Beeton’s Way street frontage. We hope that our new application, albeit smaller in scale, but with its focus on framing the main approach to the school, will still have the same positive impact on the overall street scene.