The Unicorn School in Abingdon Oxon specialises in supporting children with neurodiversity, including dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and autism. The school was founded over 30 years ago and currently has just over 100 pupils aged between 7 and 16.
We were approached by the school to help facilitate two new teaching rooms which would enable the school to provide private tuition and mental health counselling that would improve the teaching environment and specialist services for its students. Alongside this, the school shared its plans to relocate the Astro pitch and reorganise parking areas in order to help it function more efficiently.
Careful consideration needed to be applied when selecting the location of the new cabins and relocation of the Astro pitch, as well as maintaining the existing level of parking across the site.
The site is constrained by mature trees, existing development of school buildings and sports pitches and close proximity to residential dwellings – all of which posed challenges to the location and acceptability of development on the site.
By executing in-depth research into development proposals, planning history as well as national and local policies, we identified the most feasible location for the teachings rooms.
The proposed design and form of the cabins were deemed to be functional and would significantly enhance the operation of the school. By carrying out thorough research and conducting a site visit, our team determined that there would be no negative impact on the character of the area and the amenities of the neighbours.
Through a detailed review, we established that the proposed reorganisation of the parking could be accommodated without reducing the level of parking on site and would not have an unacceptable impact on highway safety, the amenity of neighbours, or be detrimental to the trees.
We collaborated effectively with all of the key stakeholders involved in the project, including consultants and the local planning authority, and by taking the time to understand the client’s objectives, we were able to help bring their vision to life.
In 2020, we successfully achieved planning permission from the Vale of White Horse District Council for The
Unicorn School. The teaching rooms have now been built and are currently in use.
“We are challenged with space issues at our site on Marcham Road and were pleased with the very practical proposals from Edgars to suit our specific needs. We currently have over 230 applications a year for 20 spaces and so, ensuring we get the best use out of the site was a priority.”
– Andrew Day, Headteacher, The Unicorn School
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