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Cambs SEN school has ‘no economic benefit to village’ says parish council

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A parish council is trying to block a 25 place SEN (Special Educational Needs) school in their village by claiming it is of “no economic benefit”.

Farcet parish council near Peterborough voted to reject the planning application, telling Huntingdonshire District Council “the school provides no economic benefit to the village, therefore we would recommend refusal”.

The council said they had other concerns about the proposed school regarding highways safety “due to single track road access and increased traffic at peak times”.

It added they had concerns, too, over disability access and the condition of the road.

Huntingdonshire District Council is consulting on the proposal by Hassan Abou Alaywi of Danex Properties Ltd.

Huntingdonshire District Council is consulting on the proposal by Hassan Abou Alaywi of Danex Properties Ltd.
He has applied to build the school at Yard 2, Ashley Lodge, Conquest Drove, Farcet.

He has applied to build the school at Yard 2, Ashley Lodge, Conquest Drove, Farcet, and has received support from parents.

“I feel we need more SEN schools,” one parent told the district council. “This benefits our children in making sure they are receiving the best education and support they need.

“These are vital times for our children, and they deserve the best”.

Another parent said: “It will be a great place to have a SEN school – more of these are needed, especially in Peterborough”.

And a third parent said: “It is so difficult to get a SEN school in Peterborough because there is a shortage. We are desperate for a new SEN school in the city.”

Cambridgeshire County Council says it has no objections to the proposal but added certain caveats.

“It should be noted that there are plans to increase special education provision and thereby reduce reliance on placements in independent special schools other than where already established, and in exceptional cases,” said Fran Cox, an assistant director of education for both Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.

Huntingdonshire District Council is consulting on the proposal by Hassan Abou Alaywi of Danex Properties Ltd.
He has applied to build the school at Yard 2, Ashley Lodge, Conquest Drove, Farcet.

Danex Properties says the site is currently available for commercial use with an existing access point onto the highway.

The site is 1937m2 and has a mix of grass and hard standing areas.

“The site is currently being used as overflow storage for the adjoining business owned by the applicant,” says Danex.

“The risk for contamination would be low, The site is within flood 1 which has a low probability of flooding.”

Danex says Conquest Drove SEN School “is an exciting new company established in June 2022.

“The school will offer education for up to 25 young people with learning disabilities who hold a EHC Plan aged 7-18 years”.

It promises to work with most of the local authorities and clinical commissioning groups in England, Scotland, and Wales.

“Within Conquest Drove SEN School we provide tailored programmes, therapeutic environments,” says Danex.

Huntingdonshire District Council is consulting on the proposal by Hassan Abou Alaywi of Danex Properties Ltd.
He has applied to build the school at Yard 2, Ashley Lodge, Conquest Drove, Farcet.

“And through our highly dedicated and experienced educational members we empower individuals to progress to achieve their ‘personal best’.”

A business plan has been sent to planners.

It is envisaged the school will operate Monday to Friday during 8.45 – 3.30 “due to the expectation of the government to provide 32 hours per week per child (in-line with state schools) but allow for a crossover of arrival times for different ages and Key Stages”.

It will employ 14 senior leadership, teaching staff and teaching assistants.

Danex says the school will provide education for students with learning disabilities.

It will follow the national curriculum “but that each young person’s education is personalized to accommodate strengths and weaknesses, special interests, and a keen focus on life skills.

“The school will adopt an autism friendly approach with a sense of importance attached to communication in its varied forms.

“Each student will learn at their own pace which will allow for personalized targets to be set, both academic and socially.

“Traditional examinations and alternative qualifications will be sought to ensure that the young people leave the school with a record of their skills and abilities, ready for employability.

“Accommodating sensory needs will also be a significant part of learning and the environment we have identified will become an integral part of this.”

Danex adds: “Not all learning will be completed in the classroom, and it is anticipated that the school grounds will be used as an important extension to the building.

“There is the thinking that we will aim to accommodate an ‘outside in’ approach and create an environment which blends the internal and external features sympathetically.

“The aim to educate our young people in a nurturing environment will include using natural methods and materials as far as possible, including recycling, and using features appropriate for the rural setting.

“A small area for petting animals will prove valuable learning opportunities for our students.

“Disabled facilities include toilets, accessible shower facilities and a purpose designed one level building to accommodate any physical difficulties.”

Danex says it has investigated other available properties “but the need to be rural for the well-being of the pupils is a key factor in choosing this development site”.

PLANNING INFORMATION

This is the reference number, and the full application can be viewed on Huntingdonshire District Council website.

https://www.huntingdonshire.gov.uk/

22/01660/FUL | Erection of new SEN school including parking area and outbuildings for storage of educational equipment/maintenance | Yard 2 At Ashley Lodge Conquest Drove Farcet Peterborough PE7 3DH

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