It was pleasing to note that there was wide spread support for the new school with the main objections related to there being sufficient provision of onsite parking and possible traffic congestion on the roads surrounding the school. One suggestion to improve the parking was use of a grasscrete surface like the picture below:
Over 250 people joined representatives from the school Governors, project management team, architects and builders to look at the detailed plans for the new school. This was a fantastic turn out with many also taking the time to fill out a feedback form, the summary of which is linked below. Feedback on the consultation meeting copy
The diagrams and video presentation captured the exciting proposals for an early years foundation unit; technology and art room with facilities for cooking : outside classroom ; environmental areas including pond and wetland ; playing field; modern classrooms and a service kitchen to supply school meals on site and to other local schools.
Over the period January 2014 through to December 2014, including during the midst of the summer holidays, a range of workshops and briefing meetings were held with the project management team, the NVB architects and the building firm BAM. These meetings started with a review of the feasibility study that looked in detail at the options for the school site and confirmed that the best site was the proposed one off the West Camel Road opposite the Medical Centre. Workshops then looked in detail at the layout of the site, the internal design of the school and with a company call Portsdown the furniture and fittings. The committee learnt a lot from what a plenum is to the best way to fit teaching walls.
During this period both the school and Somerset County council held discussions with the Parish Council, Neighbourhood Front Runner development group, District and County Councillors Mike Lewis, representatives of St Barnabas’ Church ,the Queen Camel Medical Centre and community members. As a result of these discussions concerns were shared particularly about the traffic management on the West Camel Road and parking on the school site, which resulted in changes to the design of the school site. The school governors with Somerset County Council also looked at the site around how best to lay it out for community use.
To see Portsdown website http://www.portsdown.co.uk/
To see BAM website: http://www.bam.co.uk/
In late 2013 and early 2014 the school governors met with the Somerset County Council project officer Carol Bond( in picture) and the Futures for Somerset project manager Hadleigh Wells( in picture) to start planning the new school building project in detail. During this period the governors also formed a committee and delegated them powers to make the week by week decisions, with Somerset County Council, about the building and internal fitting of the new school. This committee is Sue English,( in picture) Mark Andrews, Rachel Scully and Simon Patton. The committee report into the full board of governors at each meeting.
Following a detailed feasibility study and full discussion of the options the decision was made by Somerset County Council and the Countess Gytha Governing Body to go for the land on the West Camel Road.
During the worst flooding in Somerset for many years in fading light of an early January 2014 Saturday the brook next to the River Cam burst it banks and school came within a whisker of another major flood with water lapping at the doors of the old school building Girls and Boys entrances.
During 2012 and 2013 at a range of Queen Camel Village consultation meetings draft plans of new school and its possible location were shared and discussed . At the January 2013 Parish Council meeting a report of the latest position was given by the project officer from Somerset County Council which outlined that the site for the new school was likely to be the field opposite the medical centre.
Countess Gytha County Primary School Grid reference ST5925
Countess Gytha wife of Earl Godwin and whose grandson was Harold II who became King in 1066 and was defeated and slain at the Battle of Hastings.