New study centre supporting hundreds of families gets green light from planners
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A private study centre supporting more than 200 families is set to open a new permanent base in Norwich after city planners gave it the green light.
The Kumon Norwich Study Centre is opening a new learning space in a previously empty retail unit in the Harford Place development off Hall Road.
The centre, run by national education provider Kumon, has been operating from public spaces in the city – including the Hewett Academy and the 1st Norwich Sea Scouts headquarters – since leaving premises in St Giles Street in 2015 after the property’s running costs became too expensive. It is also renting office space in Stannard Place for parent meetings and back-office functions.
Its application to open the new single-site study centre was approved by Norwich City Council in December.
Planning documents from the council say the centre will provide “a suitable, safe and convenient location for teachers and students” while giving continuity to pupils and better accessibility for parents working in the city to attend weekday meetings.
Having its own premises will also enable the study centre to extent its opening hours, to 10am to 6pm on weekdays and 9am to 2pm on Saturdays.
The Kumon Norwich Study Centre gives supplementary learning in English and maths to pupils aged three to 17 from city schools including Lakenham primary, Bignold Primary and Notre Dame High School.
Each of the centre’s pupils will attend one 30-minute study session a week at the new centre.
The Kumon Norwich Study Centre’s current owner Samantha Rudgley took control in summer 2016. She worked at the Kumon head office in London as an area manager for the East of England before taking charge in Norwich.
The planning documents say Ms Rudgley moved to Norfolk “specifically for the opportunity to re-open the Kumon Norwich Study Centre” with the ambition to find a commercial venue with the same benefits as its St Giles Street location.
After an application to open a centre in Ber Street fell through, Ms Rudgley applied for change of use at the Harford Place unit.
A planning statement said the study centre “makes good use” of the retail unit, which has been vacant since the development’s completion in 2015, and would be beneficial for the community.
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