Claires Court submit plans for a new school campus

25th January 2018

On Friday 22 December 2017, Claires Court submitted a planning application for a new school campus at Cannon Lane, adjacent to Claires Court’s current site for Junior Boys at Ridgeway. The proposal will enable the popular and successful school to consolidate its three sites across Maidenhead into a single campus providing high-quality education and sports facilities to enhance the learning environment for pupils.

In addition to new purpose-built classrooms, teaching spaces and social areas, pupils will benefit from new facilities for drama, art and music. The new campus will also provide new sports pitches, including cricket, hockey, rugby and football pitches, tennis and netball courts, athletics and a multi-sports pavilion.

In partnership with Claires Court, the campus will also serve as the permanent new home of Maidenhead Hockey Club whose members will enjoy access to a new clubhouse, changing rooms and all-weather pitches. These facilities will enhance the sporting and social experience for members and deliver improved health and wellbeing benefits, helping the club to grow and attract a new generation of hockey players.

The consolidation of the school’s existing three sites will make access easier for parents, removing the need for staff and parents to travel between sites and considerably reducing the amount of school-related traffic in Maidenhead. The transport network will also be significantly improved with a new roundabout and road widening on Cannon Lane to service a new access road to the campus. At the campus, designated drop-off zones and ample parking for parents, staff and coaches will also be provided.

Hugh Wilding, Principal at Claires Court said:

“After many years of planning and consultation we are delighted to now submit our proposals for the future of Claires Court. Since Claires Court was opened by my parents David and Josephine Wilding in 1960, the school has built a track record of excellence in education that my brother and I have been proud to continue.

Claires Court has gone from strength to strength over the years, however our existing school buildings are old, costly to upkeep and increasingly unsuitable for delivering the high-quality education our parents require us to deliver. Our new school campus, with purpose-built learning and sporting facilities, is designed to provide for the long-term future of the school on a sustainable basis and deliver an exceptional learning experience for future generations of pupils.

The new campus will also enable the school to broaden its activities and further extend its connections with local community groups so that these excellent new facilities can be made available for the benefit of the whole community in Maidenhead.

As well as improving the facilities for the school community, the new campus will allow for the provision of a number of means tested places for students in the local area. This will give opportunities to local pupils whose families would not normally be able to afford a Claires Court education.

Above all, the vision that I share with my brother is of the continuity and future success of Claires Court, developed within Maidenhead for the enduring benefit of Maidenhead.”

 Dave Taylor, Chair of Maidenhead Hockey Club said:

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Claires Court to achieve these plans, which will provide a new home for Maidenhead Hockey Club. For many years now, the club has used three separate facilities across the area, with no access to changing rooms for our players. This has limited our ability to attract young people to play hockey in Maidenhead. The new clubhouse and all-weather pitches included in the proposal will enable us to improve all aspects of the club, as well as delivering benefits to the school, and the wider community.”

To enable the delivery of the new school campus, new homes will be provided on part of the Ridgeway site and at the vacated sites at College Avenue and Ray Mill Road East. All proceeds from the sale of the land at the three sites for housing, along with significant other borrowings, will be used to finance the construction of the school campus. A mix of housing will be provided by Berkeley Homes, including much needed high-quality family housing. As well as financing the delivery of the new school, 30% of the homes provided will be affordable housing. These redevelopments will help to meet RBWM’s local housing targets, reducing pressure on other green belt sites around Maidenhead.

More details will be provided early next year and we will continue to update and engage fully with our stakeholders and the local community as we progress our plans through the planning process.


KEY FACTS 

About Claires Court

 1.        Claires Court was founded in 1960 by the parents of the current Principals, Hugh and James Wilding.

2.        Claires Court is the largest independent day school in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

3.        Claires Court is a school for families, run by a family, providing an independent education for around 1100 young people aged 3 to 18 years.

4.        Claires Court is an academically non-selective school based on grammar school precepts offered at reasonable prices.

5.        The current nominal capacity of Claires Court is 1190 pupil places but only 1142 of these can be delivered presently because of physical and statutory constraints.

6.        55% of Claires Court’s pupils live in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

7.        50% of our pupils who live in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead are from families with two or more children at Claires Court.

8.        Claires Court is the 10th biggest employer in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, employing in the region of 400 staff.

9.        56% of Claires Court employees live in the Borough.

10.  Claires Court runs a holiday club open to non Claires Court pupils every school holiday.

11.  Claires Court’s existing buildings are declining and are becoming too expensive to maintain and increasingly unsuitable for delivering the high-quality education schools are required to deliver.

12.  It would be too costly and impractical to rebuild on the current sites.


 About the Ridgeway Project to deliver a new school campus 

Claires Court have been consulting on their plans for the Cannon Lane site for the past four years.

This project will:

1.       Provide a new school on a single campus to consolidate Claires Court’s three separate declining school sites across Maidenhead.

2.       Purpose-led design will deliver extra school and nursery places available locally and financed privately.

3.       Provide a new home for Maidenhead Hockey Club, with access to a clubhouse, changing rooms and hockey pitches on a single site.

4.       Provide 221 new high-quality homes in sustainable and strategic locations across Maidenhead.

5.       Reduce traffic congestion around the two town centre school sites.

6.       Reduce traffic congestion between the current three school sites, removing the need for parents, staff and pupils to commute between sites.

7.       Provide two acres of land for use by the local community at the Cannon Lane site. The uses will be decided in consultation with local residents and could include allotments or public open space.

8.       Provide 30% affordable homes across the three sites across Maidenhead.

9.       Generate Community Infrastructure Levy receipts for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in the region £5m.

10.   Generate new employment, teacher training and apprenticeship opportunities both during construction and at the new school campus after completion.