Treetops school in Grays expected to have new sports hall and classrooms approved

PLANS to add a sports hall and two extra classrooms at a new special educational needs school in Grays are expected to get planning approval from the council this week.

Plans for the Treetops School on Buxton Road in Grays were approved by the council in November last year but the school is now asking to expand those plans further with a purpose-built sports hall with two attached classrooms.

Under the plans, the sports hall will be single storey and include specialist equipment for children with special educational needs.

It will be attached to the two proposed classroom which will also be supported by a new lobby area, toilets and storeroom.

The classrooms will be physical education lessons as well as “sensory development”. They will focus on teaching smaller groups than in the other classrooms.

Ahead of the planning committee meeting on Thursday, council officers have said councillors should approve the plans, despite them being located on green belt land.

A council report notes: “There would be definitional harm to the Green Belt, as well as harm by way of loss of openness and harm to a number of purposes which the Green Belt serves.”

However, officers believe there are “a number of factors” which constitute “very special circumstances” that mean the plans will outweigh the harm caused and “justify the inappropriate development”.

Among these factors is the design of the sports hall and classrooms which would be to “a high standard” and that the sports hall would be for community use, as well as for the school.

The wider plan for the Treetops SEN school will see facilities built next to the existing Treetops Academy and the two schools will operate together as a single campus.

It will include six primary school classrooms, eight secondary school classrooms, a library, facilities for art, design, music and science, and a dining room.

The planning committee will discuss the plans on Thursday.Categories: Planning PermissionLocations:Authorities: Thurrock Council

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