Scheme for historic school site approved

The long-term development plan for a Surrey school devised by McDowell+Benedetti has been given planning permission

After spending 12 years developing the design with their client, the Claremont Fan Court Foundation, McDowell+Benedetti’s long-term development plan for an independent school set in an outstanding 90-acre historic landscape in Surrey has secured planning permission. The approval of the hybrid planning application includes outline consent for the whole site-wide development plan as well as fully detailed design and listed building consents for the works to be delivered in phase one.

Claremont Fan Court School is a co-educational day school for pupils from two to 18 years. Its highly sensitive site near Esher is within the Green Belt and of major heritage significance with several scheduled monuments, grade I/II*/II-listed buildings and a landscape listed grade I in the ‘Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest’. It includes surviving works by Vanbrugh, Bridgeman, Kent, Capability Brown and Soane.

The masterplan establishes a comprehensive and flexible framework for phased development across the whole site over the next 20 years to improve facilities, refocus the campus and reinforce the historic setting. It includes a complex phasing and decanting strategy for new and refurbished buildings as well as improvements to landscape, access, parking, accessibility and sustainability across the whole site.

Phase one of the development plan includes a new science and technology faculty and extension of the listed Stable Court building for the prep school, as well as landscape enhancement and new parking arrangements across the site. Future construction phases include a new library, music school, dining/kitchen, sixth form, humanities building and swimming pool as well as restoration works to the listed Mansion, Belvedere and White Cottage buildings.

The masterplan is the outcome of a rigorous process of brief development, options studies and assessments, including a conservation and management plan and an environmental impact assessment. Extensive consultation was undertaken with the school community, Elmbridge Borough Council, English Heritage, National Trust and neighbours.

Jane Jenkins, bursar of Claremont Fan Court School, said: “We are very pleased to have achieved a successful outcome to what was a difficult and at times fraught master-planning process. McDowell+Benedetti listened carefully to our requirements and supported us throughout with initiative, innovation and reassurance.”

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