Planning reporting by Local Democracy Reporter Katie May Nelson
A purpose-built sports hall for use by pupils and the local community is to be built at Upton Junior School in Broadstairs.
The state of the art centre in the school grounds is another important step in the ongoing development of the school.
Michaela Lewis, Executive Head Teacher of the Viking Academy Trust – which includes Upton together with Ramsgate Arts Primary and Chilton Primary – says that the scheme is a positive step forward for the area.
She said: “We are excited to be providing a purpose-built sporting centre in our grounds. We are very keen to stress that this is part of Upton’s ongoing desire to provide sport-for-all.
“I am pleased that the hall will also be used by our community – in fact we have already received strong interest and groups are lined up to enjoy activities including dance, yoga, Scouts and Beavers meetings.
“We aim to host a grand opening celebration of the hall in December.”
In a letter to parents Robin Curtis, Upton chair of governors, said that the original plan to start work in the recent summer term with completion during the autumn had been put back.
He explained: “Unfortunately technical surveys showed that the site on the school field originally proposed for the new building was not suitable and we therefore had to resubmit the planning application, which has obviously caused delays.
“I am delighted to tell you that the new application has now received approval and that we hope that work will now start on the new building in a matter of weeks.”
Mr Curtis said that the progress of the project will be updated regularly on Upton’s social media platforms, with work due to begin on the week of September 27.
Last night (September 15) Thanet councillors at a planning meeting gave the go ahead for the amended proposal to build the hall.
The authority received eight letters of objection raising concern about the proximity to neighbouring properties, noise, and the impact of allowing the community to make use of amenity in the evenings.
Speaking at the meeting resident Andy McCulloch said he has submitted an objection regarding the colour and original location, adding: “I have never objected to the idea of a sports hall, merely the details of it.”
The colour scheme was changed from blue to cream following a meeting with residents. Mr McCulloch said the location now agreed had also previously been suggested by residents but rejected at the time.
He also said there had been a lack of communication from the school, an issue raised by Cllr Paul Moore at a Broadstairs town council meeting.
Mr McCulloch added: !I am hoping now, following this rather lengthy process, that lessons have been learned and the school understands that it is part of the neighbourhood and has the same obligations to its neighbours as I have to mine.”
Cllr Rebecca Wing (Green) said: “I’m glad compromises have come to, and that we now have a sports hall that meets the needs and concerns of everybody, but I would urge the school to continue its dialogue with the residents, because I know how community use of a sports hall – which I also fully support – can impact on the local community.”
To monitor progress of the sports hall build, go online to Twitter: @uptonjuniors and Facebook@@uptonjuniorschoolofficialbroadstairs