High school's £8m improvement plans get go-ahead
PUBLISHED: 06:00 24 April 2019 | UPDATED: 13:43 24 April 2019
An £8m improvement scheme at a Norfolk high school has been given the go-ahead.
Hethersett Academy is set to expand its indoor and outdoor facilities to prepare for growth in the area's population as new homes are built.
The plans submitted to Norfolk County Council by NPS Group include a new teaching block comprising 15 classrooms, two art rooms and a digital media suite and new sports provision for the academy.
The county council approved the application with conditions during the school Easter break.
Documents submitted with the application say the construction of the new two-storey building will require demolition of existing temporary classroom blocks and the removal of two tennis courts, as well as taking up some of the existing playing fields.
However, additional land – earmarked for use by the academy and a new primary school in the Hethersett North masterplan – has been secured directly north of the school site across Back Lane to provide more outdoor space, which the plans say will provide full-sized football and rugby pitches, smaller pitches and a running track.
The tennis courts are also expected to be replaced on the existing academy site in Queen's Road.
As part of the proposals a new vehicle access will be established in Back Lane, along with a new staff car park and coach drop-off area to reduce pressure on the existing car park off Queen's Road.
NPS Group estimates the new development will create 15 jobs at the academy, bringing the number of FTE (full-time equivalent) staff to 85.
Dame Rachel de Souza, chief executive of the Inspiration Trust, which runs Hethersett Academy, said: “Hethersett Academy has been increasingly popular with families following its 'outstanding' rating from Ofsted and we had a record number of applications for this September, so this new building will provide the new classrooms, art studios, and hall space we need to meet that rising parental demand.
“We are glad to be working closely with Norfolk County Council to support the growth at Hethersett and help more pupils attend a school that helps them achieve exam results consistently ranked among the best in the region, so it is great that the project's planning application has been given the green light.”