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Planning application lodged for new Park Crescent Academy at former Royal School for Deaf Children site in Margate


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Official plans are in to open a new secondary school in Margate almost two years after Kent County Council axed the proposal.

In October 2019, the authority's former leader, Paul Carter, scrapped the plans to build the facility on the former site of the Royal School for Deaf Children.

A total capacity of 900 students and 100 members of staff is proposed. Picture: Bond Bryan
A total capacity of 900 students and 100 members of staff is proposed. Picture: Bond Bryan

But KCC and sponsor The Howard Academy Trust launched a consultation last year over reviving the proposals.

Now, a planning application has been submitted to build the school, which will be called Park Crescent Academy.

The Royal School for Deaf Children was established in 1862, but the existing campus replaced a former large Victorian building with a prominent tower, with the majority of the current buildings constructed in the 1960s and 1970s.

Following the school's closure in 2015, KCC bought the extensive plot in Victoria Road, which also includes teaching and supported living accommodation, a hydrotherapy pool and gym, and sports fields.

The planning application states the existing school buildings "are not fit for purpose for modern day teaching and learning", and the classrooms, corridors and main hall are too small.

Despite some renovation in the past few years, the condition of the existing buildings is poor and a "total upgrade would be required", it says.

In November 2017, KCC announced it wanted to establish a new secondary school for Thanet, but two years later the decision was reversed.

CGI of Park Crescent Academy at former Royal School for Deaf Children site in Margate. Picture: Bond Bryan
CGI of Park Crescent Academy at former Royal School for Deaf Children site in Margate. Picture: Bond Bryan

The authority cited low rates of housing development in Thanet and financial savings of at least £10.3 million as being among the driving factors behind its change of heart.

But after a competition process to secure an academy sponsor, the secretary of state approved The Howard Academy Trust to run the new school in Margate.

The opening of the school is planned for September 2023, if given the go ahead.

The application states: "A clear and statistical ‘needs case’ exists for creation of a new secondary school in the Thanet area.

"The proposed development successfully balances the need to address a local demand for secondary school places with the need to preserve and enhance the quality of the local environment."

Entry to the site will be via the existing access and road, which will lead to the staff and visitor car park.

The school complex will comprise a three-storey teaching block and a sports hall on the upper plateau of the land.

Plans also show hard play areas, sports pitches and a multi-use games area on the lower level of the site, which will be open for community use outside of school hours.

The games area has been deliberately sited as far away as possible from homes to "minimise disturbance caused from sports activities".

A planning application has been submitted to build the school. Picture: Bond Bryan
A planning application has been submitted to build the school. Picture: Bond Bryan

There will be a new car park providing a total of 136 spaces.

A total capacity of 900 students and 100 members of staff is proposed, plus a specialist resourced provision for 20 pupils who have autism.

The school will cater for an age range of 11 to 16, with no sixth-form provision.

The application states the new institution is required to meet the growth in the secondary-aged population.

It will also address changes in travel-to-school patterns, with a growing number of Thanet children now going to Sandwich and Deal for their education.

To view the application, go to KCC's planning portal and search KCC/TH/0155/2021.

Read more: All the latest news from Thanet

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