Highcliffe School has an immediate requirement for a sports hall and space for invigilated exams to ensure that pupils are provided with the best start in life.

The proposal seeks to enhance the school facilities but does not involve a material change in use or the intensification of the activities undertaken. i.e. its primary use is to extend the choice and range of all-weather sporting activities for existing pupils.

The School are proud to be part of the wider community and your views are important to us. The proposed scheme is at a formative stage and we, therefore, wanted to share our initial ideas and invite feedback ahead of submitting a formal planning application to BCP Council.
To assist you we have set out a brief description of the site and surrounds, relevant planning considerations and plans of the potential building are shown below.

The preferred location of the proposed sports hall is aloft the hard surface courts, bound by chain link fencing – outlined in red on the aerial photograph to the right.

The School car park wraps around the northern and western edge of the preferred site, partially enclosed by trees. Beyond this, to the north, is a strip of School playing field bound by a 1.8m close boarded fence. Detached bungalows sit beyond the fence line, fronting onto Nada Road. The rear facades are approximately 45m away from the site.

To the west of the wrap-around car park lies Woodfield Gardens, an open space with bungalows along its northern edge and southern edge.  The bungalows are orientated north south so do not look out towards the site. To the south lie single storey modular classrooms, surrounded by hard surfacing with the core of the school being full two-storey below, pitched tile roofs.


To the west is a larger tract of school playing fields bound by a 1.8m close boarded fence. Bungalows fronting Laurel Close sit beyond the fence. The rear facades are approximately 28m away from the site.

The prevailing character of the surrounding area is residential, with the dwellings exhibiting some uniformity in built form and materials (i.e. detached bungalows, beneath pitched roofs, set within regular plots and with brick and occasional render finishes).  Homes are interspersed with a network of green / open spaces, further lowering densities and adding to the sense of spaciousness.

Local Planning Authorities are required to determine planning applications in accordance with the Development Plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. Highcliffe School falls within the administrative jurisdiction of BCP Council and in this instance the Development Plan comprises:

  • Christchurch and East Dorset Local Plan Part 1 – Core Strategy adopted in 2014.
  • Saved policies of the Christchurch Local Plan 2001

The school lies within the defined settlement boundary and the urban area of Highcliffe. It presents a sustainable location. Site-specific Policy HE4 relates to Open Space. It protects existing open spaces and leisure facilities.

Relevant material considerations include the emerging Highcliffe Neighbourhood Plan and National Planning Policy,

Section 8 of the National Planning Policy Framework [“NPPF”] is titled ‘Promoting healthy and safe communities’. Paragraph 94 states: ‘It is important that a sufficient choice of school places is available to meet the needs of existing and new communities. Local planning authorities should take a proactive, positive and collaborative approach to meeting this requirement, and to development that will widen choice in education. They should:

a) give great weight to the need to create, expand or alter schools through the preparation of plans and decisions on applications; and

b) work with schools promoters, delivery partners and statutory bodies to identify and resolve key planning issues before applications are submitted.’

Section 12 of the NPPF reaffirms the requirement for new development to achieve well-designed places.


The illustrative layout and elevations have been informed by:

 Highcliffe School’s operational requirements.

  • A review of site opportunities and constraints discerned through a series of site visits.
  • An appreciation of the character of the area.
  • Relevant Development Plan policies and supplementary planning documents.
  • An understanding of neighbouring uses and potential amenity issues.

Technical assessments covering drainage, ecology and landscape planting have been commissioned and their findings, together with any feedback received from you will also shape the forma and content of the final application.

The proposed sports hall would measure c.1,425sqm inclusive of adjoining changing rooms. The building(s) would overlay the existing hard surfaced courts.

It is likely to be a removable single span structure but would assume a degree of permanence owing to footings etc. It has been oversized relative to Sport England standards to ensure that it would also be suitable for invigilated exams.

The proposed main hall is likely to be supported by a 6.5m frame with a dome roof (or similar) with an overall height of circa 13.5m. The form of the building is largely dictated by its function. It would be legible as a sporting venue with similar buildings commonplace within the BCP urban area. The building would be visible from surrounding properties but owing to the degree of separation is unlikely to dominate. Existing planting would serve to filters views and would be retained. There may also be an opportunity to bolster planting around the edge of the existing car park to the north, and to the immediate west. The curved roof helps to reducing the perceived height in nearside views.


Internal lighting has yet to be designed but we would anticipate directional lighting to limit the overall luminescence.

The requirement for heating / air conditioning is being investigated but it is envisaged that any plant will be situated at the southern end of the building furthest from residential properties.  Such plant is again commonplace and would not pose an amenity concern.

The existing courts are hard surfaced, so the proposed building is unlikely to have a significant impact on surface water drainage although further consideration will be given to drainage as part of the planning application.

The proposed use is commensurate to the existing and, if anything, full enclosure will provide a degree of noise attenuation. Crucially this all-weather facility will allow for a greater range of sporting activities, thereby contributing to the health and wellbeing of pupils.


(Click to enlarge)

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For further information regarding this proposal, please contact Brett Spiller at Chapman Lily Planning on 01929 55 38 18.

In providing a response you agree to Chapman Lily Planning holding the submitted details on file for the sole purpose of informing the evolution of this scheme, and for no other purpose.  All responses will be acknowledged by Chapman Lily Planning.  Comments will be summarised in a Statement of Community Engagement accompanying the planning application.  All personal information will be removed and care taken to ensure comments are anonymised.   No personal information will be passed to any third party.

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