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

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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
Calfordseaden
Macegreen Consulting
Playle & Partners
Property Tectonics
Rex Procter and Partners
Stace

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
Calfordseaden
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
Calfordseaden
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.”

Headteacher, John Bayes, was joined by the local bishop, Right Reverend Mike Harrison, to celebrate the official opening of Thurston CEVC (Church of England Voluntary Controlled) Primary Academy and Thurston Pre-School. School Governors, members of Thedwastre Education Trust, Suffolk County Council and the construction and design teams gathered on site to mark the occasion which included a collective worship involving all of the pupils.

Back in 2020, the construction of the new school began, making it possible to relocate the existing school to a larger site, increasing the number of permanent placements from 210 pupils to 420 pupils. Included in the project was a new standalone 30 place Pre School, operated by Thurston Pre School in addition to their existing facility in the village.

John Bayes, Head teacher at Thurston CEVC Primary Academy, said “We are delighted with our brand-new school. It has been extremely exciting to work closely with the School’s Infrastructure team at Suffolk County Council and Concertus Design and Property Consultants, who have all been fantastic at guiding us step by step on the Thurston CEVC Primary Academy relocation and expansion. We have had a huge amount of support from staff, parents, pupils and governors and are looking forward to our future in our new school”.

This expansion was driven by the anticipated housing developments in the area and will guarantee the continuity of school provision within the village. The new school is located on Norton Road, adjacent to the Linden Homes development and opposite the Hopkins housing development.

Concertus Design and Property Consultants Ltd, delivered the new educational facilities on behalf of the client, Suffolk County Council.

Ian Barber, Senior Project Manager at Concertus, said “The new Thurston Primary School provides a modern learning environment for local children and the larger school site has helped deal with the expansion in the area. The school was designed with the forest school identity at heart, and we are pleased to see the children have settled in so well.”

The old 210 place Primary school was on a constrained site which meant that it was not suitable for expansion. This resulted in a strategic decision by Suffolk County Council, with the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich and Thedwastre Education Trust to relocate and expand the existing school to provide the necessary additional school places. The new two-storey building has spacious classrooms with interactive whiteboards, a dance studio and specialist rooms for art-design technology and science as well as a library and large hall. The relocation means that there will be space to expand the school if it needs to grow again.

Rachel Hood, Cabinet Member for Education, SEND and Skills at Suffolk County Council, said: “It’s a wonderful occasion to mark the opening of a new school in Suffolk. The school has been designed to offer the very best lay-out and space, with significant innovative and modern features in the classrooms. I am sure the children are enjoying every moment of it.”

Barnes Construction was appointed by Concertus as the main contractor on this project and played a key part in ensuring the project was handed over on time, despite additional challenges presented by COVID-19.

Mark Whinney, Senior Contracts Manager at Barnes Construction, said “We are thrilled to have worked with Suffolk County Council and Concertus on another new school that helps to meet the needs of the local communities in mid-Suffolk.”

The school opened in September 2021 in time for the new academic year and has since welcomed many local children. The pupils are now enjoying their modern, innovative, and exciting new learning environment, which is set to provide educational benefits to the community for years to come.

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