Chilmington Green Primary School

Words: Ben Jugoo

The Chilmington Green ‘garden suburb’ is a major urban development which will deliver up to 5,750 homes on the south western edge of Ashford Town in Kent. It is expected that once complete, the development will produce over 1,600 primary age pupils. To meet this demand, the development will be served by three new 2FE primary schools, a single 1FE primary school and an 8FE secondary school to be delivered concurrently with the 25-year programme for the development.

Chilmington Green Primary School will be the first to be established by Kent County Council at the heart of the development adjacent to a community space known as the Market Square. This location will make it easily accessible to early residents and will support the integration of services in one location as the development moves forward. The school will be delivered early in the life of the development; therefore, the build form will not only have its own defined sense of place but will also link in with the plans for other buildings and land uses in and around the Market Square.

The school will be delivered several years prior to the proposed Community Hub and will be expected to play its part in developing the sense of community. To achieve this, the facilities such as the school hall and playing facilities have been considered with community access in mind.

The Stour Academy Trust have been appointed as sponsor by the Department for Education and Chilmington Green will be their eighth primary academy and second in Ashford.

The School will have a capacity of 420 pupils from Reception to Year 6. In addition to this there will be a 26FTE place nursery and a Specialist Resourced Provision (SRP) for up to 14 pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The design proposals have developed through a process of regular consultation and refinement with the stakeholders beginning with visits to Thistle-Hill Academy on the Isle of Sheppey, and Finberry Primary School in Ashford (both operated by the Stour Academy Trust), to gain valuable insight into the positive aspects of each to be incorporated into the new primary school at Chilmington Green.

The scheme has also benefitted from the continued support of the Stour Academy Trust and Ashford Borough Council to ensure that that the operational requirements of the building are achieved, whilst respecting the themes of the Chilmington Green Masterplan and Design Code document; in particular, the relationship to the Market Square and neighbouring buildings to be built in the future.

The evolutionary nature of the design development process has ensured that the basic needs criteria of BB103 & BB104 have been met, whilst incorporating the specific requirements of the individual stakeholders and consultees to create a building that satisfies the needs of all parties for the benefit of future generations.