Petworth school wants to construct an educational woodland and ecology centre

Seaford College has unveiled plans to build an educational woodland and ecology centre.

Friday, 16th July 2021, 4:34 pm

The building would be adjacent to the ancient woodland within the grounds of the college at Lavington Park. 

In the planning documents, a school spokesperson said: “The centre will be used for learning experiences associated with woodland, fauna, flora, ecology, geology and informal outdoor leisure such as orienteering.

“The facilities will be available to and used by used by college students and staff, visiting schools, community groups, individuals and organisations.”

Planning application SUS-210715-185133001

The proposed facilities would include; four activity study areas; toilets with external access and including a disabled toilet; two shower/changing rooms; covered external activity area; a disabled lift to provide access to the building; a community information board; hot and cold water taps and wash down area; cycle puncture repair facilities and cycle parking.

“With regard to the siting of the building, great care has been taken to set the building back from the footpath/bridleway and to set it away from the bank to the north,” the spokesperson said. “This is for visual, environmental and structural reasons.

“In particular we are keen to ensure that the building and its use is not visually overbearing for users of the footpath/bridleway and that it sits comfortably within the woodland.”

A ‘great deal of thought and care’ has also gone into solving how to provide disabled access to the building.

The plans stated: “It has to be viable and fit for purpose, whilst its physical impact on the land and visual impact on the immediate and wider landscape needs to be minimised.

“Having looked at all options over a considerable length of time, the proposed lift is considered to be appropriate and achievable.”

The college said that, for the past ten years, it has been actively replacing, extending and refurbishing its buildings and improving the facilities for students. This followed ‘various planning permissions’ and the preparation of a College Master Plan.

The collage said it has liaised with local groups and parents who have been ‘supportive of the proposal’. 

To have your say on the proposals, visit the South Downs National Park planning portal and use the reference number SDNP/21/02886/FUL.