Updated: 24 September, 2021
WOODLANDS MEED COLLEGE, NEW BUILD PROJECT: PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT INFORMATION SHARING
WSCC continues to commit significant resources, approximately £2m to date, and considerable time to this £20m project to rebuild Woodlands Meed College.
The RIBA Stage 4 design has been approved by WSCC and Woodlands Meed College.
The RIBA Stage 4 Report is due to complete on 27th September 2021 as per the programme.
The Project Board scheduled for the 21st September was postponed pending the outcome of discussions on key documents with the College. The Development Agreement is still in negotiation and completion of this document is an absolute priority as this must be resolved to enable the project to progress. The Collateral Warranties are still to be agreed and these are intrinsic to the completion of the Development Agreement. When these have been agreed with the College the Project Board will be reconvened.
Until the Development Agreement and Collateral Warranties are agreed with the College, WSCC are unable to appoint the contractor for the construction phases of this school as both these documents affect the content of the Building Contract.
The logistics of building this school whilst both Woodlands Meed College and Birchwood Grove Primary are occupied is being reviewed to establish the programme going forward so that it will have minimal impact on the operational aspects of the school.
We remain fully committed to this important £20million Woodlands Meed College project and recognise its importance to the children and young people who will benefit from the new facilities.
While there continues to be a number of complex technical and legal issues to resolve, the Council’s level of financial commitment and allocation of staff and other resources are unchanged.
We continue to put every effort into completing the agreement that will allow the project to commence. There has been no drop in the level of priority the Council gives to this project and the young people it seeks to help.
All of the funds being committed to this project are the County Council’s and the Council remains committed to its delivery as a priority.
Discussions are ongoing regarding the Development Agreement which needs to be signed by all parties before the contractor can be formally appointed and the work begin. The board of governors have requested additional provisions which places the Council and third parties under further liabilities than have previously been agreed. This is a difficult position which increases the council’s financial and risk exposure above what has been agreed as necessary for a successful and compliant development.
We understand the frustrations being voiced. We want to proceed with this scheme as soon as possible and in anticipation of these matters being resolved shortly, the County Council’s delivery team continues to progress this important project at its cost.
There continues to be a number of complex technical and legal issues to resolve with regards to the Woodlands Meed College project.
Discussions are ongoing regarding the Development Agreement, which needs to be signed by all parties before the contractor can be formally appointed. Unfortunately, this has caused a delay to the start of the enabling works on the college site, which were due to commence shortly and will now not take place over the summer period as planned. We continue to engage with the college, who are the freeholders of the site, to reach a position where both parties can agree the Development Agreement which will allow the work to start at the earliest opportunity.
In anticipation of these matters being resolved shortly, the County Council’s delivery team continues to progress this important project at its cost, with the focus of completing the building in Spring 2023, in line with our original programme.
We remain fully committed to this important £20million project and will update all parties when we are able to confirm when the work can start.
There continues to be a number of complex technical and legal issues to resolve with regards to the Woodlands Meed College project, and the college is not ready to sign the development agreement.
We are working with our project partners to resolve the outstanding issues. Unfortunately it now seems unlikely that demolition work on the college site can begin over the summer holiday as planned.
We remain fully committed to this important £20million project to rebuild the college and we will update all parties as soon as there is a clearer way forward.
Update on 08/07/21
Nigel Jupp (Member for Southwater & Nuthurst, Cabinet Member for Learning & Skills, WSCC), Andrew Edwards (Director of Property and Assets, WSCC), Marion Wilcock (Chair Of Governors, Woodlands Meed) & Simon Virgo (Vice Chair of Governors – Property and Chair of Property Committee, Woodlands Meed) met on Thursday afternoon (01/07/21) to discuss the issues affecting the progress of the new college build.
The meeting was very productive, and a way forward identified. There are a number of points that require clarification by both parties. WSCC and Woodlands Meed are fully committed to finishing the college building.
Update on 30/06/21:
An update on the project to rebuild Woodlands Meed College was given at the Children’s and Young People’s Services Scrutiny Meeting on 30 June, 2021:
West Sussex County Council is committed to supporting every child and young person in West Sussex with special educational needs and disabilities, particularly at a time when Covid-19 is creating additional challenges for these children.
The £20 million project to rebuild Woodlands Meed College in Burgess Hill is a major part of that commitment and will provide new facilities that better meet the needs of its pupils and benefit teachers and staff.
Following agreement between all parties on the location of the various rooms in February, we accommodated a number of design changes which the College and Governors requested. However, further requests have been made by the College, which if agreed, would increase the overall cost and potentially delay the start of the project until after the summer holiday, when pupils are on site and would be impacted by the noisiest of the building works.
We continue to seek agreement with the College and Governors on creating the best possible new facilities within the Council’s financial resources.
We fully appreciate how important a new college is for the whole Woodlands Meed community and hope to have a clearer way forward to share with everyone.
On 30 March, 2021, planning approval was formerly granted to rebuild Woodlands Meed College on its current playing field site.
West Sussex County Council would like to share its intentions for the proposed development of Woodlands Meed College.
People will be able to see the exciting plans in this short video
and theses presentation boards
An online engagement event was held on Microsoft Teams on 6 November, ahead of the planning application being validated on 1 December, 2020.
On 30 March, 2021, the Planning and Rights of Way Committee unanimously voted to approve the plans.
Andrew Edwards, Director of Property and Assets at West Sussex County Council, said: “Today’s planning approval marks another major milestone in this exciting project and I know will be welcomed by everyone connected with the school.
“The County Council is committed to providing pupils and staff with the facilities they need to thrive. We look forward to continuing to work with the school and governors as we turn these plans into reality.”
Woodlands Meed - Frequently Asked QuestionsWOODLANDS MEED COLLEGE – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Updates from regular Project Board meetings
Project Update April 2021
ISG have been appointed and are continuing to work with the incumbent design team and the College to complete the design and construction of the new build. ISG have a strong track record of delivering SEN education facilities and understand the operational and commercial requirements.
As part of their tender ISG developed a detailed programme for Woodlands Meed College with completion of the new building December 2022 and completion of demolition and external works June 2023, five months earlier than originally anticipated.
The planning application was submitted on 20th November 2020 and went before the Planning Committee on 30th March 2021, the Committee voted unanimously to grant planning permission subject to the amendment of proposed planning conditions. WSCC are in the process of incorporating these comments and the planning consent along with the planning conditions will be released on the WSCC Planning Portal imminently.
RIBA STAGE 4 – TECHNICAL DESIGN
This stage is progressing at pace and is being undertaken by the contractor who is continuing to work with the current design team to ensure continuity. ISG have engaged with the relevant specialist subcontractors to ensure that everything that needs to be done before manufacturing and construction is designed and finalised.
West Sussex County Council recent press releases:
3 March, 2021: Woodlands Meed College expected to be completed early
3 November, 2020: Woodlands Meed plans to be submitted
18 September, 2020: Woodlands Meed College project update
26 May, 2020: New Woodlands Meed College is agreed