Planning matters blog | Lichfields

Planning matters

Our award winning blog gives a fresh perspective on the latest trends in planning and development.

Lessons for the future

Andrew Darby 24 Jun 2022
Town planning was a very new discipline when Lichfields was established in 1962 - and schools were a whole lot different. Celebrating our 60th birthday in 2022, these days the education sector is a key area of expertise for Lichfields; helping to create places for future generations to learn, as well as places to live. From advising schools, colleges and universities, and managing major new academic, residential and sport developments, we have guided a range of education projects through the planning system - the requirements of which have changed a lot over the past six decades. Gone are the cold corridors, crammed classrooms and tarmac playgrounds, and in are 4G pitches, PV solar panels and rain gardens. As the UK’s post-war schools reach the end of their lifespan, we are now planning the schools of the future, working with contractors like Bam Construction on various new buildings under the Department for Education’s ‘School Rebuilding Programme’ (‘SRP’). Image credit: Ryder Architecture / Render 3D Each school responds to a range of requirements outlined by DfE, creating a learning environment that meet the demands of the current education system, but which flexes and adapts to future teaching methods and an ever-changing curriculum. Increasingly critical to these projects has been a focus on delivering buildings that are sustainable and which address the challenges of the climate emergency. DfE’s Sustainability Annexe outlines the sustainability criteria, required to secure the necessary funding for the replacement of eligible buildings with new schools for the future. Working with architects such as Ryder, recent projects have embraced a range of cutting-edge building technologies, including:   Meeting minimum standards for daylight, assessed through climate-based daylight modelling, to provide a high-quality internal environment and minimise the use of artificial light;  Mitigating overheating risk in warmer seasons and minimising heat loss during colder seasons through the optimisation of glazing area, shading, glass performance and window layout;  Maximising airtightness and levels of insulation to minimise heat loss;  Providing sufficient natural ventilation to mitigate overheating in warmer seasons, and allow for sufficient air changes in cool seasons whilst not resulting in excessive heat loss and in turn the need to heat spaces, through the provision of opening windows and / or louvres and heat recovery ventilation units;  Mitigating the risk of glare and ensure that natural ventilation systems can operate when shading devices such as blinds are in use;  Providing a roof with integrated photovoltaic cells which requires the roof to be of a flat roof construction rather than pitches.   Our latest project - Whitley Bay High School   Image credit: Ryder Architecture / Render 3D Working with BAM Construction - our latest and sixth future school project at Whitley Bay High School, we worked within the DfE’s specification and the scheme was granted planning permission by North Tyneside Council in March 2022. The school will incorporate photovoltaic panels, air source heat pumps and hybrid ventilation, as well as a range of energy efficient technology, such as hybrid ventilation and heat recovery; low energy LED lighting; and maximised use of natural light. With programming always critical to the delivery of education projects, the project was approved well within the timescales required to ensure a start on site by the DfE’s target date.   Image credit: Ryder Architecture / Render 3D   Put your hand up! Lichfields has built an enviable track record assisting in the delivery of school projects, and look forward to another 60 years of creating high quality learning environments for future generations! If you require advice on a similar project, please get in touch and we will be be happy to help.