The school is excited to announce that we have today submitted an application for full planning permission and an accompanying Listed Building Consent application to Norwich City Council. This is for new dining and teaching facilities, together with beneficial outdoor spaces and improved access, located on the existing refectory site and the adjacent Bishop’s Palace Lawn. The site is situated on the school site in the corner of the Cathedral’s Upper Close, adjacent to Palace Street.
Chairman of the School’s Governors, Patrick Smith comments: “The proposals provide the school with much-needed space and is in response to an urgent need to improve the school’s facilities. Our plans address multiple operational concerns connected with the existing facilities. Our aim is to meet these needs by constructing beautiful buildings of which we all can be very proud. I firmly believe the facilities will have a long-lasting and positive impact on the area for both pupils and the local Norwich community”.
Mr Smith points out that the school has worked carefully with their consultant team to seek to address and respond to the sensitivities of the site and its multi-layered constraints. This has involved collaborative pre-planning engagement with key stakeholders including Norwich City Council and Historic England, the general public, the local community and advisory groups.
The application comprises the construction of a new dining hall and kitchen block on land to the north-east of the existing refectory. Once this has been constructed, the current dining facility will be demolished and the new classroom block constructed on its site. The school and their consultants have worked hard to ensure that the buildings are of the highest design quality, and are sympathetic to their surrounds, reflecting the best of traditional and modern influences.
The development will see the pedestrianization and comprehensive landscaping of the Bishop’s Palace Lawn site. It has the potential to significantly improve the site’s environmental and ecological value whilst removing servicing traffic from entering the school site and the potential for conflict with the historic Erpingham Gate. The proposed development includes a discreet pedestrian and servicing entrance within the precinct wall, opening onto Palace Street, made by re-opening an existing gateway that has long been blocked up.
Head Master, Steffan Griffiths, believes there would be multiple opportunities outside school hours for the facilities to be offered for sensitive and managed use for the wider Norwich community. The school would intend to open up the new spaces to community groups through an extension of its current community ‘Reaching Out’ programme. The new facilities will provide a modern building of exceptional design quality to be used for: conferences, lectures and talks, art exhibitions, training and out of school educational events (such as the regional Techathon which brings school children together from across the region), summer schools as well as musical and drama performances.
Mr Griffiths comments: “This presents an opportunity to build upon the school’s well-established community ‘outreach’ programme by providing a new, iconic, multi-use facility in the heart of the city. The development will provide a long-term community asset for the whole city. We see there being considerable interest in these facilities. We also hope for improved awareness of the ancient Bishop’s Palace which sits adjacent to the site”.