After many months of negotiation for new school buildings, Ridge View Special school in Tonbridge has finally been granted planning approval.
Following Kent County Council‘s planning applications committee meeting on 9 March the planning decision was referred to the Secretary of State.
The Secretary of State will not be calling this decision in which means work can now begin on preparing for the build.
The school will be expanded and relocated on to a new site on Upper Haysden Lane, Tonbridge.
Providing a two storey building specifically built for special needs pupils, it will include a hydrotherapy pool, sensory rooms, therapy areas, rebound therapy suite, soft play areas, specialist teaching classrooms, comprehensive external play areas and a life skills building.
It is hoped the new school will be ready to open in September 2017.
Jacqui Tovey, Headteacher said: “This is amazing news and we are so excited that the pupils and staff will have such a fantastic building to work in.
“The governors, parents and staff have been working with the local authority for many years to achieve this goal and we are very thankful for their continued support which has led to this brilliant outcome.
“There are so many wonderful learning environments planned within the new building that we will be able to offer the pupils an even better learning experience.”
Roger Gough, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Education said: “We are absolutely delighted that pupils and staff at Ridge View School will finally get the new building they deserve.
“Despite the inadequate buildings the school currently occupies it still continues to provide outstanding education, as recognised by Ofsted.
“The new school will offer an extra 48 special educational needs places in the area which reflects the county council‘s ambitions to increase the number available across the county.”
The school provides for pupils with profound, multiple, and severe learning difficulties and autistic spectrum disorders and is currently located in unsuitable buildings in north Tonbridge in a campus with two mainstream schools, preventing expansion.