Frequently asked questions about Reigate Priory Junior School

Page contents:

Site Location

Operationally net zero carbon

Transport, access and parking

School admissions

Proposed school design

The existing school site

Site location

Why is this your preferred site and why did you choose it?

We carried out a robust appraisal to compare different options to meet the educational need for a new school building. In doing so, we have balanced technical, environmental, programme and cost considerations.

Woodhatch Place was the only site that met all the criteria required to deliver a 600-place junior school building as well as outdoor school spaces. It is the only site that is available within a reasonable time frame, is at least five acres in size and has the fewest planning constraints.

A detailed site search document will be part of the planning submission and will include the analysis of all the identified sites. This document will be available to view once a planning application has been submitted and validated.

What other sites were considered?

We carried out a robust appraisal to compare different options to meet the educational need for a new school building. In doing so, we have balanced technical, environmental, programme and cost considerations.

24 sites in total were considered. A detailed site search document will be part of the planning submission and will include the analysis of all the identified sites. This document will be available to view once a planning application has been submitted and validated.

Did you consider Wray Park?

Yes, we considered 24 sites, and this included Wray Park.

Surrey Fire and Rescue (SFRS) currently operate out of the Wray Park site and it is not our intention to move them to an alternative site or ask for them to vacate the site. Wray Park is the location of Reigate Fire Station, as well as SFRS fire training facilities.

This includes major incident training on the large hard standing area whereby large fires are started and training/testing/skills enhancement takes place. The fires create fumes and smoke which will be in close proximity to the cricket pitch area, therefore any uses of that site would be impacted with associated air quality impacts.

In addition, health and safety is a key priority with blue light services needing unfettered access without conflicts such that would occur with an education facility.

The site is also used for its duties under the Civil Contingencies Act 2008.

On 29 March 2019 a cabinet paper was published suggesting that the Wray Park site could be sold for residential development. However, following the recent COVID-19 pandemic, it became quickly apparent how vital the designated site is. Therefore, any potential site disposal plans have ceased.

Why have we not been consulted on the other sites?

The site location has been chosen as a result of a robust options assessment process. This process relied heavily on the technical constraints that exist for the delivery of a new school, these technical constraints meant it was not appropriate to consult on the site location. The Department for Education provided input and support during the original assessment process at the outset of the project and since then SCC have undertaken a detailed site search to identify the most suitable site.

A detailed site search document will be part of the planning submission and will include the analysis of all the identified sites. This document will be available to view once a planning application has been submitted.

Why do you need to re-locate the school from the Priory?

Due to the existing building condition, The Department for Education identified the current Reigate Priory Junior School site in the Priority Schools Building Programme 2 (PSBP2), as a site that required significant improvements to ensure it meets the future demands and needs of pupils.

An evidence-based study undertaken by The Department for Education as part of PSBP2 considered how to address the shortcomings of the current building. This study concluded that the current building at Priory Park does not meet the design standards required for education provision today.

Due to the age and various heritage designations of the building, it is not viable to undertake the works required to bring the site up to the required standards. To ensure the future sustainability of the school, it must be relocated.

Can you explain what the issues are with the current building?

There are several areas where the current building does not meet modern standards. For example, the size of the classrooms is not sufficient, and the existing school kitchen is significantly undersized and unable to deliver 600 meals a day. The existing kitchen is 25m² only where a school of this size should have a circa 70m² kitchen. Equally the adjacent dining hall in the existing school is only 85m², whereas this should be 150m².

There are also two key areas of safeguarding concern with the current site. These relate to the Public Right of Way through the school site, which splits the site in two, with buildings on both sides, and the use of Priory Park, which is open to the public, as the sports pitches for the school.

Whilst the school currently do a fantastic job in managing these risks, it does require significant effort and resourcing from the school staff.

Finally, the ongoing maintenance of an 800-year-old building has a significant impact on the school, who must accommodate the inconvenience and disruption from noise and the closing of spaces to allow work to progress.

Operationally net zero carbon

Have you accounted for embodied carbon in construction?

Yes. We are targeting a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Energy Assessment Method) rating of "Very Good", which requires us to follow the principles of the "Green Guide" in selecting construction materials in order to minimise embodied carbon.

What is the 'whole life carbon' assessment for the school?

This does not form part of our assessment of net zero carbon in operation.

How can the new school be zero emissions when more parents will be driving their children to school?

The net zero carbon applies only to the operation of the building. However, there will be a school Travel Plan which will encourage sustainable modes of transport to and from the school by pupils and staff. A proportion of staff parking spaces will also be equipped with electric vehicle charging points.

Transport, access and parking

How will you manage the impact on local roads?

We understand that providing a development that is well connected and addresses traffic and road safety concerns will be key for the local community and the school.

We are in close dialogue with the highways department and are carrying out a number of parking and traffic surveys of the local highway to inform the forthcoming transport assessment.

The proposal will be accompanied by improvements to the existing access, implementation of a separate new egress, and a package of off-site highway works including associated parking controls to mitigate inappropriate parking on the public highway.

While this is not a new school but a relocated school (thus school related traffic is present on the local highway) a range of off-site traffic surveys have been conducted to test the impact of the relocated school on local junction capacity. Any impacts deemed unacceptable by us would need to be addressed by way of either junction mitigation or travel planning measures.

What provisions will be put in place to help children walk safely to school?

We are exploring a wide range of improvements with the highways department. These improvements could include increasing pavement widths, introducing new crossing points, road markings, signage, and pedestrian guard railing.

The school will also benefit from multiple pedestrian access points, with two from the west and one from the east. This will help minimise the number of pedestrians on any given footway at any one time.

Will you be including parking spaces for drop-off and pick-up?

Our first public consultation was designed to ensure that everyone was aware of the key planning policies that we need to consider. With regards to drop-off and pick-up, Our policy position is to not allow for the provision of short stay parking for drop-off or collection for education land use classes as this acts as a disincentive to travelling by non-car modes.

However, we are currently going through a data collection exercise in terms of school travel demand, local traffic conditions and highway safety which are informing further discussions with the highway authority regarding the interpretation of local parking standards and associated on-site parking provision.

Will Blue Badge parking spaces be provided?

Three parking spaces are proposed for blue badge holders in line with local parking standards.

Will there be any improvements to public transport, for example a school bus from Reigate Station?

There are currently no improvements to public transport proposed. Typically, children of junior school age are not transported to school by public transport, as is currently the case with Reigate Priory Junior School.

What consideration will there be for children whose parents don't drive?

As with any school development, and in accordance with sustainable transport policy, we look to facilitate travel to school by non-car modes (predominantly walking), where many children currently walk to school. In addition, we will be providing bike shelters (accessible from both the eastern and western access point) as well as scooter parking.

The school will have multiple pedestrian access points, with two from the west and one from the east, encouraging a distribution of trips across multiple access points and maximising pedestrian accessibility.

We are also currently looking into the arrangements for wrap around care at Reigate Priory Junior School and the associated feeder schools to minimise any inconvenience caused for those that do not drive.

How many parents do you anticipate will drive to the school to pick-up and drop-off children?

We are currently gathering data and conducting catchment analysis to establish the change in mode share and travel patterns We will use this data to identify opportunities to minimise the number of car trips.

Will cycle lanes be added to Cockshot Hill?

Our highways have historically looked to accommodate a cycleway on Cockshot Hill and we understand that they concluded there is insufficient available highway width to accommodate both a cycleway and retain a design complaint carriageway. As part of the Transport Assessment, ISG are conducting their own review of the ability to widen the footway and thus accommodating scooting/cycling by children.

Will improvements be made to local footpaths around the site?

We are exploring the potential for improvements to footpaths in proximity to Woodhatch Place as part of the package of off-site highway works. We are also looking into the acceleration of works to the eastern side of the Cockshot Hill footway to clear the foliage that has, over time, crept into the pavement, reducing the effective width of the footway.

Will this proposal lead to more people parking on neighbouring streets?

We are working to minimise the impact of parking on neighbouring streets. However, based on local parking standards there is a presumption against the provision of parking at schools associated with drop-off and collection as this is seen as a disincentive to travel by non-car modes.

This policy has been applied to many school developments across the county, where drop-off and collection parking takes place in unrestricted roads.

However, we are currently going through a data collection exercise in terms of school travel demand, local traffic conditions and highway safety which are informing further discussions with the highway authority regarding the interpretation of local parking standards and associated on-site parking provision.

Notwithstanding this, we are working with the school and local highway authority to look at options to minimise the impact of parking demand from the school, including the number of cars needing to be parked at any one time. Furthermore, all on-street parking will be short-stay only, with all day parking associated with staff accommodated on-site.

Will parents be able to use the existing Woodhatch Place car park for pick-up and drop-off?

At present no, on the basis this is contrary to local parking standards.

Are there any plans to have a 'walking bus' for children to the new school site?

A walking bus is expected to be promoted within the forthcoming School Travel Plan from the Bell Street Car Park to Reigate Priory Junior School. The Bell Street Car Park is well used by and familiar to parents / carers, takes access from the A217 and is a reasonable walking distance to the new school site.

Are there plans for any zebra crossings outside the school?

The package of off-site highway works will include the proposed implementation of an additional pedestrian crossing facility in front of the site on Cockshot Hill both to facilitate walking trips from the north / south but also those parking and walking from roads to the west of Cockshot Hill.

Are there plans to change the speed limit on Cockshot Hill?

A change in the speed limit on Cockshot Hill is being reviewed against speed survey data, highway design standards and other potential traffic calming measures.

Will there be any changes to the Woodhatch Place office junction?

It is proposed to provide improvements to the existing access to Woodhatch Place in order to accommodate pedestrian and vehicular access to Reigate Priory Junior School. These will be in the form of footway widening, a dedicated footway connecting Cockshot Hill with the northern side of the Reigate Priory Junior School internal site access, an additional pedestrian crossing on the Woodhatch Place arm of the junction, relocation of existing access gates to ensure secure boundaries for Surrey County Council and Reigate Priory Junior School, and improvements to junction geometry to improve pedestrian visibility and the time it takes to cross the Woodhatch Place junction for pedestrians using the Cockshot Hill footway.

Will there be pedestrian access to the new school from Smoke Lane?

We are not proposing to provide a separate pedestrian access directly from Smoke Lane. There are a number of constraints including topography and property boundaries outside of the application red line boundary. However, there is an existing footway connecting Smoke Lane with Cockshot Hill which accordingly provides a pedestrian connection from the north of Woodhatch Place.

School admissions

How will the school's re-location affect the admissions criteria?

Admissions for September 2023 will use proximity of the child's home address to the front door of the Reigate Priory building in Priory Park, Reigate, with children living nearest receiving the greater priority.

This will mean children living nearer to the existing school site will still have greater priority. This will ensure that the intake to Reigate Priory for 2023 will be unaffected by the move of school site.

For how long will the catchment area be based on the current admissions criteria?

For 2024 and beyond it is currently our intention to continue with the same admissions criteria, however these arrangements must be determined and confirmed every year. If we did have plans to change the admissions criteria, we would need to run an additional consultation with the community.

When is the school due to move?

The target date is Spring 2024, subject to planning approval.

Will any amendment to the Reigate and Banstead Borough Council boundary line impact school admissions?

No. We are the education authority and often pupils go over Borough and District lines to be educated.

Why has the school been designed for a five-form entry?

We are proposing a replacement school building and outdoor school spaces for an existing five-form entry junior school.

Are there any plans to expand Reigate Priory Junior School in the future?

There are currently no plans for future expansion at the school.

Did you look at the option of a combined Infant and Junior school?

The decision to relocate Reigate Priory was the result of the Department for Education condition review, identified through the Priority School Building Programme 2 (PSBP2). The PSBP2 funding from DfE is only available for improving the current provision, and not changing the educational provision across the area.

Proposed school design

Why does the school building need to be three storeys?

The design aims to strike a balance between easily accessible internal and external spaces as well as considerations for the site constraints, such as topography, existing public sewer, protected trees and ponds. This required the design team to investigate a compact solution to accommodate the school's requirements.

A two-storey building would occupy a greater footprint, limiting the available external play areas. A three-storey solution was deemed more suitable, providing ample external play spaces and delivering the educational brief set out by the school. To minimise impact on neighbouring properties the second floor has been set back from the adjacent Belvederes development.

Have you considered the noise impact, overlooking and privacy for the residents of the Belvederes?

We are undertaking detailed assessments to consider the potential impact of the proposed development and how we could reduce or mitigate any significant impact.

To limit the impact on immediate neighbouring properties, the proposed school building volume has been set back on the second floor towards the centre of the building to provide a part two-storey building nearest to the Belvederes.

A combination of acoustic fencing, existing vegetation and new thicket planting will also act as a visual and acoustic screen between The Belvederes and the school on the south-eastern boundary.

What safeguarding measures will be put in place given the school will be on a shared site?

Safeguarding is a key aspect of the design. The school will have the appropriate security and access systems as well as a 2.4m high boundary fence.

Will the all-weather pitches be floodlit?

No, floodlighting will not be included in the proposal.

What about the trees on the site, what is going to happen to them?

We have undertaken a survey of the trees in and around the proposed development site to understand their current condition. Whilst a number of trees, in and around the site, will be retained, the plans do mean that we have to remove some trees to facilitate the development.

Only trees to enable the development will be removed, all other trees on site will be retained. This includes the majority of trees on the western boundary to Cockshot Hill and the trees on the north of the existing earth mound on the eastern boundary.

To compensate for the loss of the existing trees, we are committing to a biodiversity net gain strategy that will achieve a biodiversity net gain of 10%.

Are you planning an air quality monitoring exercise as part of data collection?

Yes. Air quality monitors were in place for four months between December 2021 and March 2022. The monitoring has now finished.

The existing school site

What will happen to the Priory building?

Reigate and Banstead Borough Council are responsible for the process of developing proposals and engaging with stakeholders to identify the best available options to maximise its use, deliver long term benefits and ensure the future prosperity of the Reigate Priory site.