HUGE EXPANSION: Expansion plans for college agreed
Hundreds of new students will be able to join a specialist Wolverhampton school after plans for a huge expansion were approved.
City of Wolverhampton planners granted permission for Thomas Telford University Technical College (UTC) to construct a new teaching building, sports hall and play area at its site on the former Springfield Brewery off Cambridge Street.
This means the UTC will be able to increase its capacity from the current 600 to 1,050 with more than 30 new jobs being created in the process.
It opened as West Midlands Construction UTC in 2016 with the aim of providing vocational learning in construction to pupils aged 14 to 19.
But it has struggled to attract the numbers and the Year 10 entry requirement is believed to be one of the main reasons for this.
The Department for Education has instigated a pilot scheme to expand UTCs to accommodate Years 7, 8 and 9 for children aged between 11 and 14.
In the application, the UTC – which became part of Thomas Telford Multi Academy Trust in 2019 – has been working on developing this.
Agents Delta Planning said: “The original UTC was built to support vocational learning for pupils aged 14 to 19 and it therefore did not include the range of spaces required to support the learning of younger age groups following the wider requirements of the National Curriculum.
“It does not include suitable accommodation to teach sport and drama for example.
“An extension to the existing school will enable the provision of such additional teaching spaces which are currently lacking.
“The proposed development comprises the construction of a new teaching
building adjacent to the existing school and a separate sports hall together
with the creation of sports and social spaces and associated access, car
parking and landscaping.
“Part of the application site is currently used for play and sports pitches for the
existing school including a tarmac multi-use games area (MUGA).
“These facilities will be replaced as part of the development with a new sports hall and outdoor sports facilities offering a much-improved sports provision for the school.”
They added: “Planning policy at national and local level provides strong support for urban regeneration and the provision of education facilities in the City Centre.
“Local policy also provides support for the sympathetic redevelopment of the former Springfield Brewery site.
“The proposed development will provide a further significant capital investment into the regeneration of the site and provide job opportunities both during the construction and operation of the development.
“It will make an important contribution towards the social well-being of the
borough’s community by widening education provision and protect and enhance the local environment through the extension to an existing school on previously developed land.”
Words: Gurdip Thandi, Local Democracy Reporter
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