A grammar school has been granted the go-ahead to build a new sports hall, give its entrance a makeover and expand its “woefully inadequate” canteen.
Hailed as an “extremely exciting project”, work on the upgrades at Queen Elizabeth’s, in Faversham, is planned to start later this year.
The secondary school’s plans were lodged in February and approved this month by Swale Borough Council.
The Abbey Place site is also to benefit from new outdoor seating areas to modernise the look of the grounds.
Head teacher David Anderson previously told the Faversham News how the canteen - which will now treble in size - is in desperate need of an upgrade.
“The existing school canteen has been in place since the 1990s and is woefully inadequate, seating just 90 people at any one time,” he explained.
“With a school of over 1,000 pupils, this means students often have to collect food and head off to other parts of the school to eat, which is not ideal.
“The plans submitted will allow us to treble the size of the canteen, enabling up to 300 students to be seated at any one time.
“The projected cost is somewhere in the region of £350,000.”
Borough council officers rubber-stamped the plans, which were submitted under two separate applications, after poring over documents. In granting permission, they said the scheme would “enhance” the school and boost sports provision.
Papers show the existing “dated” sports hall will be demolished to make way for a four-court facility, equipped with new changing rooms and storage space “to better meet pupils’ needs”.
The development is deemed necessary for the current and future needs of the school, which is planned to have an increased uptake of Year 7 pupils from 2023.
Mr Anderson added: “This is an extremely exciting project for the school and it’s long overdue. Creating safe, secure social spaces for students during breaks and lunchtimes is a priority.”
The canteen is set to be adaptable, so could be used an overspill classroom.
One neighbouring resident opposed the plans, claiming the size of the sports hall would be overbearing and higher than the current centre.
Planning officers acknowledged the concerns yet concluded the scheme would not have an impact on neighbouring properties.
“It is of high standard of design, sitting comfortably within the street scene, and not giving rise to any serious amenity concerns,” they said. “The proposed sports hall would enhance the sporting facilities available to the school and would enhance an existing community facility.”
Faversham Town Council backed the redevelopment but queried the lack of solar panels incorporated in the design.