Published: 05:00, 04 April 2022
| Updated: 15:19, 04 April 2022
A college campus is set for an eco-friendly transformation to include new buildings topped with plants and grass.
The Hadlow College site in Canterbury was taken over by the East Kent Colleges Group two years ago after the former had been placed in educational administration.
It followed an investigation into the financial affairs of the Hadlow Group - which ran the college - by the Further Education Commissioner.
In March 2020, Hadlow College was transferred to the EKC Group, which has now unveiled plans to redevelop the Spring Lane site, which provides agricultural, horticultural and animal care training for students.
EKC, which runs the nearby Canterbury College in New Dover Road, wants to modernise the site, and has earmarked five buildings for demolition.
It is also hoping to gain permission for two new eco-friendly teaching blocks, which would have roofs covered with plants and grass to boost biodiversity.
Bosses say the existing buildings "limit the opportunities to widen the college’s curriculum", and therefore the site is in need of a rebirth.
As part of a redevelopment, new programmes in horticulture, tree and woodland management will be created.
Informal teaching spaces outside and large areas for students to congregate are envisaged to make a "significant" enhancement to the college.
The scheme is seen as an "important and integral part" of the group's overall plan for the land-based campus, which was run by Hadlow College until April 2020.
EKC took the facility under its wing at the start of the pandemic after the Hadlow Group went into educational administration a year prior.
The satellite campus, which can cater for about 100 students, is planned to offer 20 bicycle spaces following the redevelopment.
Canterbury-based design agents Goddard Planning state how the modernised teaching spaces will benefit the city.
Planning papers say: "The proposals would create a significant opportunity to provide enhanced land-based studies, animal welfare and a wider sustainability curriculum.
"These proposals have significant educational, social, economic and environmental benefits which weigh heavily in the planning balance in favour of the application.
"We have aimed to enhance the students` environment and experience by improving teaching spaces, by increasing the potential for social interaction and wellbeing, by improving connections between different parts of the site and by increasing biodiversity.
"Additional informal seating areas are to be provided throughout the proposal to provide spaces for students to gather, learn, interact, and eat together."