Works to expand a primary school in Suffolk, creating an additional 105 spaces for pupils, are now underway.

The project at Edgar Sewter Primary School in Halesworth, costing in excess of £1 million, will include two extra classrooms, a meeting room and library within a new standalone block.

It is being built by Ipswich-based construction firm, SEH French, with design works completed by Concertus as part of the Suffolk County Council Framework.

Katherine Milk, Executive Headteacher of Edgar Sewter Primary School, part of ASSET Education, said: “We’re very excited to see the expansion of our school underway, providing local pupils with brand new facilities.

“The extra space will allow us to provide more children with the ideal environment to assist with their education.”

The start of work was marked with a turf cutting ceremony attended by pupils and staff from the school, SEH French and Concertus in December 2021.

In addition to the new standalone block, the existing building will be remodelled to provide additional classrooms, a staff room, and external canopies.

Children will also benefit from a brand-new hard play area, new footpaths, and landscaping of the school grounds.

Once the project is complete, the school will have a total of 420 places plus a nursery.

Neil Pryke, Contracts Manager for SEH French, said: “SEH French is always happy to support the local education sector and the project at Edgar Sewter Primary School will do exactly that.

“The additional spaces and facilities will benefit local children for years to come as they enjoy their first stage of education.

“This is a great project to be a part of and we’re very happy to work alongside Concertus once again as part of the Suffolk County Council Framework.”

Liz Harris, Principal Architectural Designer at Concertus Design and Property Consultants, said: “Our design is focused on representing the schools’ surroundings within the colour choices and fabric of the building. The new expansion will provide pupils with energy efficient classrooms with excellent natural light and ventilation.

“This will be a fantastic educational facility which will enhance the existing school accommodation and we look forward to working with Suffolk County Council and SEH French to deliver this project for the local children.”

Rachel Hood, Cabinet Member for Education, SEND and Skills at Suffolk County Council, added: “This school expansion was needed because of the number of new homes being built in the area.

“We have worked with East Suffolk Council to make sure we meet the needs of local families and ensure the local schools’ infrastructure fully supports local population growth.”

The works at Edgar Sewter Primary School are being funded by East Suffolk Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), a charge that local authorities can access to help them deliver the infrastructure needed to support development in their area.

Cllr David Ritchie, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for Planning and Coastal Management said: “Community Infrastructure Levy helps to support essential improvements to schools, health services and community facilities. In September, we allocated £6.3million in Community Infrastructure Levy funding to seven major projects across East Suffolk and four of these projects were required to support growth in Halesworth. Many of these projects were educational settings, where improvements are needed to support new developments in the area and help enhance the lives of local families. I am delighted to see this project underway.”

It is expected to be complete in September 2022.

SEH French is a construction company based in Ipswich but operating across East Anglia. As part of One Group Construction, SEH French has delivered countless high-quality projects in sectors including education, commercial, medical, residential, and more.

Picture courtesy: Paul Nixon – Paul Nixon Photography, Ipswich


A host of consultants have won places on a four-year framework launched by an Essex local authority.

Braintree council has revealed the winners (see below) on its £25m framework, with firms claiming spots including Stace, Ridge & Partners and architect Curl La Tourelle + Head.

The framework has been set up for use by any public sector organisation and includes architectural, engineering and surveying specialisms.

Each lot of the framework has the potential to be worth up to £4m – although the total amount spent is not expected to top £25m.

The council said firms across each lot would be expected to be involved in a wide range of projects at different stages.

Construction Consultancy Framework

Lot #1: Architectural, landscape & building design
Allen Construction Consultancy
Baily Garner
Concertus Design & Property Consultants Ltd
Curl La Tourelle + Head
Ingleton Wood
KLH Architects
Playle & Partners
Ridge and Partners

Lot #2: Building services engineering
Baily Garner
Barker Associates
Concertus Design & Property Consultants Ltd
Ingleton Wood
Johns Slater Haward
NPS Property Consultants

Lot #3: Building surveying services
Base Quantum
Macegreen Consulting
Playle & Partners
Property Tectonics
Rex Procter and Partners

Lot #4: Civil & structural engineering
Bailey Partnership
Barker Associates
Burroughs Design Partnership
Campbell Reith Hill
Concertus Design & Property Consultants Ltd
Frankham Consultancy Group
Ingleton Wood
Ridge and Partners

Lot #5: Principal designer, employers agent & clerk of works services
Baily Garner
Castons CCAS
Concertus Design & Property Consultants Ltd
NPS Property Consultants
Norman Rourke Pryme
Playle & Partners

Lot #6: Valuation, estates & property marketing
Joscelyne Chase Commercial
NPS Property Consultants

Lot #7: Topographical/land surveying & measured land
AHR Building Consultancy
Frankham Consultancy Group
NB Group
NPS Property Consultants
Ridge and Partners

Lot #8: Energy consultation
Barker Associates
Faithorn Farrell Timms
Ingleton Wood
NPS Property Consultants
Ridge and Partners

Lot #9: Highways, traffic & transport
DHA Planning
Norman Rourke Pryme
Ridge and Partners

Suffolk County Council has agreed to join forces with Lovell Partnerships to form a property development alliance to build nearly 3,000 much-needed homes.

The joint venture will deliver new housing-led developments to be built on council land.

Andrew Rowe, CEO of Concertus said “We are thrilled to be working for Suffolk County Council on this joint venture. Our team have worked jointly with the advisors to support them through the various stages of the partner procurement process, we have provided development management services on all of the joint venture sites.”

Many of the development sites are already in the pre and post planning stages, for which we were appointed to provide Development Consultancy and Project Management services. This includes the two large developments of 1,300 homes each, one in North Lowestoft and another in West Mildenhall. As well as a 114 home eco-development in Bramford.

Lovell Partnerships were identified as the preferred bidder following a nine-month procurement process.

Contracts are expected to be concluded in spring 2022, with the joint venture established in the summer.

Five initial locations have already been identified in Lowestoft, Mildenhall, Bramford, West Row and Newmarket, with capacity for a total of around 2,800 homes plus new schools, employment land and open spaces.

The proposals include an option for further sites to be delivered by the joint venture in future should additional suitable council-owned land become surplus to requirements.

Homes will be developed to be low carbon in line with the emerging Future Homes Standard.

Lovell Partnerships, part of the Morgan Sindall Group, is participating in a number of joint ventures with councils across the UK to support similar housing delivery aspirations.

The 50:50 partnership is intended to deliver around £700m of gross development value over the course of the proposed 15-year agreement, with the option to extend to a further five.

The partnership will benefit from working with other companies within the Morgan Sindall Group, as well as local suppliers, to enable it to deliver the works at pace.

Suffolk County Council has been advised throughout the procurement process by Concertus Design and Property Consultants, Avison Young property consultants, and legal advisors Pinsent Masons.

Councillor Richard Smith, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “The council is very pleased to be working in partnership with Lovell to deliver high quality and sustainable homes.

“This will help meet the needs of the people of Suffolk, provide much needed social housing and new community facilities and provide value for tax-payers.

“The partnership will also generate significant funds for the council over the long-term for strategic expenditure and investment.”

Steve Coleby, Lovell managing director, said, “We are absolutely delighted to have been chosen by Suffolk County Council to be its joint venture partner.

“Partnership working is at the heart of what we do and we share our partner’s ambitions for high quality new homes, climate resilience and maximising opportunities for local communities in the places we will be creating together.”

Simon Medler, regional managing director for Lovell in East Anglia added: “Opportunities of this scale, that can bring so much local opportunity and benefit, are rare and our East Anglia regional team is proud we have been selected.

“We have been based in the region for almost 20 years and have successfully delivered thousands of new homes.  We have many staff that live locally and we partner with established local supply chains – all of whom are committed to making this partnership with Suffolk County Council a real success.”

Progress in the construction of Stowmarket’s newest primary school has been celebrated with a ‘Topping Out’ ceremony, with the building now reaching its highest point.

Representatives from Orwell Multi-Academy trust (OMAT), Suffolk County Council, designers Concertus and builders R G Carter were joined by local Councillors to mark the major development milestone at what is set to become Grace Cook Primary School and Nursery, in the town’s Northfield View development.

The school, which has been named after pioneering local Astronomer Alice Grace Cook, will accommodate 210 primary school pupils and a further 60 pre-school pupils in new, state-of the-art education facilities when it welcomes its first pupils in September next year.

James Wilson, Director and General Manager at R G Carter said: “We are delighted to be working on this project and pleased to be celebrating such a key moment in the development of this brilliant community building. Grace Cook Primary School and Nursery is going to be a fantastic facility for the people of Stowmarket and will support the town’s growing population for many years to come.”

Construction of the school is being funded through Suffolk County Council’s capital programme and will be run by OMAT.

Anna Hennell James, CEO of OMAT, said: “It has been wonderful to watch the building grow so quickly over recent months. It is fantastic to now be another step closer to Grace Cook Primary School being ready to open in September 2022”.

Charles Coulson, Associate Director from designers and project managers Concertus said: “The new Grace Cook Primary and Pre-School will provide a modern, fit for purpose learning environment for local children, as well as helping to ease pressure on local schools due to the expansion of housing in the area. Our design is focused on representing the school’s surroundings within the colour choices and fabric of the building and creating a central community hub which will be both unique and aesthetically pleasing.”

With below-ground masonry work now complete and the school’s ground floor concrete slab poured, above-ground works are continuing to make the structure watertight.

CREDIT: R G Carter

Staff and students at Chantry Academy put on their site gear and PPE and picked up a spade to help signal the start of work on a major extension to their school in Ipswich. The project at the academy, which is part of The Active Learning Trust, is being carried out to meet growing demand for secondary places in the local area.

On behalf of Suffolk County Council and Concertus Design and Property Consultants, Morgan Sindall is carrying out all construction work. Phase one of the project includes building a brand-new single storey special educational needs and disability (SEND) block. Phase two includes the creation of a two-storey block, compromising of 11 classrooms and a library.
Works has now started at the site on Mallard Way and is expected to be complete by the end of June 2022.

Craig D’Cunha, Executive Principal at Chantry Academy, said: “We are delighted that the building work to extend our school has started. The design and facilities are fantastic and will provide significant benefits to our current and future students along with the wider Ipswich community. At Chantry Academy we want every child to be successful and believe there should be no barriers when it comes to learning. The new expansion work will undoubtedly help achieve this, and ensure our students can become active, confident, and responsible citizens within society.”

The project is set to expand the school from 900 places to 1,050 places and provide an additional 18 places in the SEND unit.

Charles Coulson, Associate Director at Concertus, said: “We are pleased to be working with Morgan Sindall for Suffolk County Council on the expansion and the new SEND unit at Chantry Academy. The expansion along with the specialist teaching block will provide high quality learning environment for the children. We look forward to seeing the project progress”.

Commenting on Phase one of the project, Rachel Hood, Cabinet Member for Education, SEND and Skills at Suffolk County Council, said: “It is wonderful to see the progress being made at the new SEND unit. It will make such a different to young people at the school. I am committed to increasing the number of SEND placements in Suffolk and ensuring that we provide the very best education for all of our children and young people.”

The new expansion work supports The Active Learning Trust’s ongoing commitment to education in Ipswich. Earlier in the year, the Trust was granted planning permission for a 2-Form Entry (420-place) Primary School and (26-place) Nursery, at Carr Street, Ipswich.
The proposals were jointly consulted on behalf of The Active Learning Trust, the Department for Education, and Morgan Sindall Construction. The new school, designed by Concertus is due to be open in September 2023.

To find out more about Chantry Academy, visit:
Learn about The Active Learning Trust, visit:
Media contact: Tom Evans;


Held on the 11th November at the site of the future St Luke’s Park Primary School and Nursery, the ceremony was hosted by Morgan Sindall Construction, which is the main contractor on the project, and was attended by Essex County Councillors Tony Ball and Ian Grundy.

Morgan Sindall Construction’s Essex business has been appointed to deliver the £5.5m scheme under the current Essex County Council Framework (ECF2). The project team, together with Concertus Design and Property Consultants, have taken the project from feasibility and planning to the project commencing on site. The Eveleigh LINK Academy Trust has been appointed to manage the primary school section of the site.

Built on the former Runwell Hospital site in St Luke’s Way and due to open in September 2022, the one form school will provide 210 primary and 56 nursery places for families in the new 575-home St Luke’s Park development. Peter Whitmore, Managing Director for Morgan Sindall Construction’s East region, said:

“We’re excited to be hosting this ground breaking ceremony, which signals an important step in not just the creation of a new educational facility but also in the evolution of the Runwell community. Demand for both school and early years and childcare places in the Chelmsford district has risen significantly and St Luke’s Park Primary School and Nursery will play a key role in meeting this requirement with a high-quality learning environment. At Morgan Sindall Construction we have a lot of experience in delivering first-class schools that enrich the local area and we’ve applied this expertise to this project to ensure that it supports the area’s families and their children for generations to come. We’re looking forward to working closely with Essex County Council, our site neighbours and the whole project team as we move forward with the delivery of Runwell’s brand new school.”

Tony Ball, Essex County Councillor, said: “The building of St Luke’s Park Primary school and nursery will be invaluable to the local community in Runwell and will create more high quality school and nursery places locally through these new state-of-the-art facilities. I was delighted to attend the ground breaking ceremony at the site and I look forward to taking a tour around the new school once it is complete.”

The Trustees of The Eveleigh LINK Academy Trust (TELAT) have warmly received the announcement from the Dept. of Education’s Regional Schools Commissioner that following a successful presentation in June that The Eveleigh Link Academy Trust has been awarded the sponsorship of a new primary school on the St. Luke’s Park Development at Runwell near Wickford in Essex. Mr Joe Figg, TELAT’s Chief Executive Officer, commented:

“We made a very strong case to the selection panel and are absolutely delighted at the outcome. It’s a perfect fit for our ambitions and capacity to grow the number of schools under the already successful TELAT umbrella! We will deliver on our promises and have pledged to work in close partnership with the local community and all interested stakeholders”.

The one-form entry school will include state-of-the-art teaching facilities in both the primary and nursery sections of the site as well as sports pitches and external hard play areas. The project’s design incorporates architectural features into the buildings and soft landscaping that mirrors the nearby historic chapel and the wider St Luke’s Park development. This includes a masonry façade that matches the neighbouring buildings and an aluminium PPC protrusion that complements the chapel will delineate the main pupil entrance. The school’s soft and hard landscaping will align with the existing communal space and contain similar elements such as gabion features and resin paving.


For more information about this news release please contact Daniel Ash at Influential on 07788 260 546 or email

A ground-breaking event took place today, Monday 15th November, to celebrate a new £13million development that will see a new older persons home built in Leighton Buzzard.

Marigold House is the first, in a number of older persons accommodation that will be built by the council in the next few years and will be used to replace existing outdated homes. The 63-bedroom care home has been designed by Concertus Design & Property Consultants and improves on traditional buildings of this nature, using a combination of sustainable design solutions focusing on Passivhaus with air source heat pumps as the main heating source.

Alongside the main contractor, Farrans, the landmark occasion was celebrated by Cllr. Brian Saunders Central Bedfordshire Council’s Chairman doing the honours with a spade to symbolically break ground. Several residents from Westlands Care Home were also in attendance to see the event. Visitors, VIPs and residents from Westlands Care Home were then able to view an exhibition of the proposed building.

Cllr Ghent Executive Member for Housing and Assets said: “This is a truly momentous day as we celebrate the start of the build on site for our new state-of-the-art care home in Leighton Buzzard, recently named Marigold House. The name was chosen by the staff and residents of Westlands Care Home the residents of which, will have the opportunity to move to the new home when it is complete.”

“This is the first care home Central Bedfordshire Council have built and it is planned to be built to Passivhaus standards making it a super energy efficient home with outstanding eco credentials.”

“Our Care is Central employees that will work here, together with Marigold House’s residents, will both reap the benefits from living and working in one of the healthiest types of building it is possible to build and, and which is also environmentally friendly.”

Cllr Hegley Executive Member for Adults Social Care said: “The major investment of over £13m in this development is a testament to the council’s commitment to tackling the challenges of providing outstanding accommodation, care and support for our growing population of older people. The facilities at Marigold House will sit alongside the independent living scheme the council is delivering to form a range of provision that can meet the accommodation and care needs of all our older citizens. As part of this, care homes have a critical role to play in providing a place where people can exercise their independence and receive the care, they need to lead fulfilled lives.”

“The residents of Westlands that choose to live at Marigold House are a generation that have witnessed the most momentous changes throughout their long lives and they will now benefit from the newest technology, wonderful spaces inside and out and the best of care.”

“The residents of Westlands that choose to live at Marigold House are a generation that have witnessed the most momentous changes throughout their long lives and they will now benefit from the newest technology, wonderful spaces inside and out and the best of care.”

Regional Director, Cathal Montague, Farrans said “Today’s ground-breaking marks an exciting step forward in this important project for Central Bedfordshire Council. Our team has been here for four weeks preparing the site and we are looking forward to delivering a top quality, modern residential care facility for the people of this area. The construction will be to the highest sustainable standards using Passivhaus criteria to deliver an energy efficient building. This is a very important region for our business and, we are committed to working alongside local stakeholders to bring added social value to the area through apprenticeships and local procurement.”

You can get a feel for what the care home will look like when complete, from this CGI fly-through video showing a vision of the inside and what the building and accommodation will look like when built.

Area Bishop of Colchester, the Right Reverend Roger Morris, visited Lawford Church of England Primary School today, to bless and officially open its new extension.

Commissioned by Essex County Council, Barnes Construction built the new two-storey classroom block which has enabled the school to double its pupil capacity by 210 to 420.

Concertus Design and Property Consultants were appointed by Barnes as the architect, structural engineer, and M&E consultant for the scheme, and Pick Everard was the client’s project manager and quantity surveyor. Now construction is complete, there are an additional eight classrooms, a library, as well as several offices and specialist practical areas. The school also has a new outside Multi-Use Games Area.

The bishop gathered with headteacher Abbie Fairbairn, school governors, members of the school council and the construction team, at the new school entrance. He then took time to take a tour of the school, blessing the rooms, meeting the children and joining with them in collective worship. Ms Fairbairn is delighted with the result and said:

“This extension to our school offers our pupils new facilities, including a technical classroom and a studio, in a wonderfully spacious environment for learning. I am grateful to the team from Essex County Council, especially Christina Halls, who has led the project and ensured that the building is fit for education into the future. We are delighted that as our Church of England school expands, Bishop Roger has been able to join with us today to bless the building and lead our school community in collective worship. It has truly been a day that everyone will remember.”

Mark Bailey, Director for Barnes Construction said: “We are delighted to have played a part in providing much needed extra school places for the young people in Lawford.”

With sustainability in mind, the new classroom block has been built using modern methods of construction. The timber roof cassettes, SIPS (Structurally Insulated Panels System) and precast concrete floors and stairs were all manufactured offsite before being delivered to site complete for erection.

We are pleased to reveal that our Mildenhall Hub project has been selected as a 2022 Regional Finalist in the Civic Trust Awards. These awards celebrate excellence in the built environment and encourage the very best in architecture through design and sustainability. They also recognise projects which make a positive impact on the local community.

The project replaced outdated facilities with a modern, multi-million community hub which combines education, health, leisure, Blue Light, and community facilities under one roof. Our team’s collaborative approach was key to the success of the innovative development which brings together an academy, pre-school, leisure centre, public library, health centre, and offices for Suffolk Police, the NHS, central government, West Suffolk Council, and Suffolk County Council.

Mildenhall Hub’s energy efficient facilities serve the nearby residents and wider community of Mildenhall and the surrounding villages. A combination of renewable technologies such as PhotoVoltaic (PV) panels, Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP), Combined Heat and Power (CHP), and battery storage are reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions.

This unique project has regenerated the area by supporting the growth of businesses, providing employment opportunities, and attracting people who are keen to use the fantastic facilities. We’re so proud of the team who delivered this national exemplar project and worked so hard to make our client’s vision a reality.

To find out more about Mildenhall Hub click here.

We are excited to announce that our Sir Bobby Robson School project has been “Highly Commended” in CIAT’s Award for Excellence in Architectural Technology category in the 2021 AT Awards.

It was a huge achievement to be recognised in these prestigious awards and we’re very proud of the project team who delivered this school – the first of its kind in Suffolk. Our team were asked to deliver a 60-place school for primary and secondary students with SEMH (social, emotional, and mental health needs). Establishing a good teamworking ethos with R G Carter, the end user, and our client, contributed to the positive outcomes of the project.

We were honoured to be invited to the AT Awards event in London and be presented with our trophy and certificate, which now have pride of place in our office!

Judges’ comments:

“Sir Bobby Robson School is a purpose-built school and as such is a fantastic local facility with innovation, functionality and inclusivity considered early in the project and throughout all the design decisions.

A robust approach to the design and delivery with carefully selected materials made this a functional school building, whilst working within a tight budget and constraints. The outstanding use of BIM and thermal modelling technology led to a highly sustainable design and its integration has had a positive impact for this project. A fine example of Architectural Technology in action.”