A New Secondary School For Houghton Regis

Artist impression of the final look of sports block and teaching block

Report by Alan D Winter
  • CBC has agreed to forward fund a new school so it can be built for September 2022. 1,120 secondary school places are proposed with a sixth form.  To meet the need from housing development this will be expanded to 1,850 places as this is built.
  • The school will meet the need for secondary school places for the local community and will be run by a new academy at the Kingsland site in Parkside, Houghton Regis. 

The plan includes a 220 place sixth form to be completed by July 2022. The wider site is already occupied by a Houghton Regis Secondary School that currently accommodates around 269 pupils. In recent years this has become less active and is due to close before the new school opens. This proposal has been developed in tandem with the housing developer Barton Wilmore to ensure that the appropriate links between the two are in place upon completion.

The proposed new school would initially share the wider CBC site with a Leisure Centre, a Technical College and a SEND School. There would be an opportunity for various site users to share each other’s skills, knowledge, and facilities. 

The proposed layout is for two buildings which sit to the east of a redundant all‐weather pitch, colloquially known as the Red-Gra, facing the existing Leisure Centre. 

The building is arranged in two blocks: 1) The Main Teaching Block and 2) The Sports Block. These have been arranged so that the Teaching Block entrance/ administration area, and the Sports Block entrance sit at the front of the site facing the car park, whilst the Classrooms are generally to the rear. This creates a strong front elevation that faces the wider campus and allows for a separate sports/ community and main entrance to be provided. 

During the consultation which ran during the summer, concerns were raised about the three-storey teaching building and about the ecological buffer to the eastern boundary. The Design and Access response to this reads, “A three-storey building is proposed to maximise the external area and allow space for a potential future expansion to a 10FEfe. Although there are not currently any three storey buildings on the immediate site or surrounding area, it is felt that the proposed building is set far enough away from them to not cause any issues with overshadowing or overlooking. The ecological buffer to the eastern boundary will also be retained to screen the building from the neighbouring houses.”

Does the ecological buffer along  Melton  Walk include the existing Hedgerow? “The existing hedgerow and ecological buffer will be protected during the construction and incorporated as part of the project.”

Further consultation issues are addressed in the Design and Access Statement.

The Design and Access Statement concludes, “The proposed new School aims to provide an inspiring and sustainable educational building, which meets the teaching requirements of today whilst also providing flexibility for the teaching needs of the future. It proposes to deliver accommodation and an environment which allows for high-quality education, whilst providing a community facility which will be an asset to Houghton Regis and the wider community. ”

Further details can be found on the Councils planning portal at http://j.mp/cbcplanning and search for CB/20/03300/REG3 or follow the direct links below. If you are a member of the Public and would like to submit an on-line Comment on this application please Submit A Public Online Comment then click the click here link.

- Update: 25 Sept 2020 - CBC has now put together a dedicated webpage to keep tabs on the progress of this application. You can follow it here for updates.