Go-ahead given for 'uninspiring' Nuneaton secondary school replacement

Hartshill was one of three Warwickshire secondaries to get £20m for a rebuild

Hartshill School
Hartshill School

The design of Hartshill's new high school has been dubbed uninspiring - and neighbours have described how their homes will be blighted by the three-storey main building and also by construction traffic.

But the plans were unanimously approved by members of North Warwickshire Borough Council’s planning board when they met on Monday - only if certain measures could be put in place.

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Hartshill was one of three Warwickshire secondary schools to be given £20million each from the government’s School Rebuilding Programme.

Cllr Margaret Bell (Con, Hartshill) summed up the dilemma facing councillors who had been told that the current premises were not fit for purpose.

She said: “First of all I want to make it clear that the existing school is in a terrible condition and our children deserve better. This has been recognised by the DfE. However this is not without issues and they should not be ignored - they are significant.”

The meeting heard from a resident of Church Close where some of the gardens will be less than 50 metres from where the new main building will stand. Construction traffic will also enter the site on a road made at the back of their homes.

Cllr Bell added: “Everything that can be done to protect those people in Church Close has to be done - screening to try and prevent the noise and dust is so important.

“The construction management plan has to have everything in it to protect them and indeed all the residents in Hartshill from absolute chaos for three years.

“There should be two points to the construction plan - the hours of construction so that the neighbours are not woken up at six in the morning or having to suffer through Saturday and Sunday, but more important are the HGV movements in that area.

“I understand that much of the building is going to be done off site so we are talking about very large vehicles coming in with pre-constructed parts of the school. I have to smile - I don’t know how they are going to get in.”

Simon Lomax, the executive princincipl of Midland Academies Trust, said Hartshill pupils will be able to benefit from state of the art facilities.

He explained: “This project will deliver a transformative facility which is fit for 21st century teaching. Our pupils, our future pupils, our staff and our local community deserve this really great new school building which will bring benefits to the village.

“We want Hartshill to be a forward facing school at the heart of the community - this new building will allow that to happen. “

But Cllr Colin Hayfield admitted he was disappointed with the look of the new school. He said: “The design just looks like an office block and I’m surprised and disappointed that it couldn’t have been more imaginative. It is uninspiring.”

The plans were approved and conditions including one calling on developers to try and fit obscure glazing to windows overlooking the Church Close houses.