Minister ‘thrilled’ by approval for Les Quennevais School
THE new Les Quennevais School, approved on Thursday by the Planning Committee, will be a ‘21st-century’ learning establishment to inspire young people, the Education Minister has said.
Addressing the Planning Committee at the St Paul’s Centre, Deputy Rod Bryans said the £40 million scheme had taken a significant effort by many people, including school staff, parents, the parish of St Brelade and the public to reach this stage.
‘It will be the biggest investment in education this Island has ever made,’ he told the committee, adding that the aim was to deliver a modern school.
‘We want to give young people a belief for the future and a place to be inspired,’ he said.
Moreover, he added, the 21st-century Les Quennevais was part of a wider picture for his department to provide young Islanders with the best life skills.
The Planning Committee – Trinity Constable Philip Le Sueur and Deputies Scott Wickenden, Russell Labey and Jeremy Maçon – unanimously approved the application to build the new campus on nine adjoining fields next to Route de Quennevais and Rue Carrée close to the Airport.
Work is due to start next year and is expected to be completed by the beginning of the autumn term in September 2020.
‘I am over the moon at the decision and thrilled for the staff, pupils and parishioners who will benefit from this fantastic new facility,’ Deputy Bryans said after the decision was announced.
It was Education’s second attempt at obtaining Planning approval for the new school.
Initial proposals were submitted last autumn after years of planning, during which the public were asked to choose between three potential sites from 12 which had been earmarked for the scheme.
Of the 1,353 responses, 17.5 per cent voted for scheme one off Rue Carrée.
As the site sits in the protected green zone – where there is a presumption against development and so requires exceptional reasons before new buildings are approved – Environment Minister Steve Luce decided the proposals had to be heard by an independent UK planning inspector.
The public hearings took place in January but following recommendations by the inspector Graham Self, Deputy Luce rejected the application in February over concerns about the building’s design and vehicle access.
The latest application, which took on the inspector’s recommendations, was submitted in July.
Addressing the planning inquiry in January, head teacher Sarah Hague said the students were ‘significantly disadvantaged’, as the current school was ‘not fit for purpose’ as it was ‘poorly designed and inadequate’.