A sea change in school delivery is happening…

27 Nov 19

At our Breakfast Seminar we heard about how increasingly we’ll be seeing the co-location of schools and other uses, such as housing and retail on the same site.

.

Last week, in the cosy setting of The Ivy Soho Brasserie, Iceni co-hosted the Housing x Education – Joined-up Delivery Breakfast Seminar with Architecture Initiative. Not only was the food of fantastic quality, so, in my view, was the content.

The delivery of a school is one of the most important pieces of infrastructure that can be provided on a site, yet this area of development has often been overlooked. In the past it wouldn’t have been uncommon for a promotor to draw a line around a piece of land in the corner of a housing allocation, label it a school and to not think anything more about it until a contractor came forward with an application. However, the way in which schools are being delivered is changing significantly both financially and physically.

At our Breakfast Seminar we heard about how increasingly we’ll be seeing the co-location of schools and other uses, such as housing and retail on the same site. For many years, we’ve been told that incorporating schools vertically or horizontally on a mixed use scheme is fraught with difficulty and not to bother, but Architecture Initiative demonstrated how they have successfully achieved this on a number of schemes. This delivers a range of potential benefits including making more efficient use of land and optimising the number of much needed homes on a site.

Bruce Glockling, Head of Regeneration at Southwark Council, talked about the specific design guidelines they are setting out to help deliver this form of development in a more urban environment. Mike van den Berg from Urban & Civic explained how and why they look to deliver schools as early as they can, as the focal point of more strategic greenfield developments. This drives higher values and faster sales rates from their schemes, and delivers the highest quality level of placemaking.

Aside from looking at the drivers of these trends, I explored some of the financial changes to delivery. Fundamentally, the onus is now on a developer to fund the delivery of a school, which places greater emphasis on understanding both local plan assumptions and planning application obligations. However, with change also comes opportunity; incorporating schools into development proposals, scrutinising standardised child yield calculations – or educational need – will potentially become the next major battleground to sit alongside the more understood housing and employment arguments that pepper planning proposals.

The picture that was painted was one of a whole host of changes across different areas interacting with each other and some major changes coming on the horizon for school delivery. Unfortunately we were a victim of our success on this and the event booked up very quickly, as a result we have produced this event document for those who couldn’t make it.

For more information on any of the above, please don’t hesitate to contact me or the Planning team at Iceni.

Jamie Sullivan Associate,Planning