Chiswick House School’s proposed new school in Pembroke will introduce young children to an entirely new concept of learning and take up just 25 per cent of its allocated footprint, school director Bernie Mizzi has said, amid criticism by residents that the school should not be built on virgin land.
The school, which will relocate from the centre of a residential area in Kappara, has been in consultation with the authorities for two years over the leasing of a new site, it said in a press statement issued this morning.
“The new Chiswick House School premises will be one of the first in Europe to use the innovative pod and open-classroom concept, where children are encouraged to interact with their natural environment rather than being confined to a room,” Ms Mizzi said.
“We have already embarked upon this approach at our current premises but require a purpose-built school to provide children with a truly inspirational learning experience.”
“We are not just building a school, and nor are we intending to increase capacity over the circa 900 we have today. What we wish to do is create an environment that benefits from open space – comprising both natural and recreational areas – where children can thrive.”
Should proposed plans be approved, the school will incorporate a private road that will serve as a drop-off and pick-up area within the site itself rather than on the adjacent road. It will also comprise a car park for 82 vehicles, and studies are being carried out to assess traffic flows.
For the project, Chiswick House School has appointed MMP architects, award-winning UK-based design architecture firm Mizzi Studio – a member of the Royal Institute of Architects that has designed structures for London’s green parks – and engaged an environmental consultant who has been tasked with drawing up an environmental report for the area.
“We understand residents’ concerns about our school occupying a portion of land that was left vacant when they built their own homes in the same area, but we also intend to make the premises available to the local community outside of school hours and believe they too can benefit from our innovative facilities.”
“We have put a lot of thought, time and research into this, but the consultation process is just beginning. We put into practice the principles of communication and collaboration that we teach our children and are attentively listening to everyone’s suggestions, including the Pembroke local council.”
“In fact, we have already taken a few on board – such as looking into the possibility of making use of the park-and-ride system – and will continue to be receptive, meeting all stakeholders and listening to everyone.”
As well as being innovative in design, the proposed school will also be “low-lying”, the owners said, rising to just three storeys in most places.
“We understand residents’ concerns about our school occupying a portion of land that was left vacant when they built their own homes in the same area, but we also intend to make the premises available to the local community outside of school hours and believe they too can benefit from our innovative facilities,” Ms Mizzi said.
According to the Pembroke Development Brief in the 2006 North Harbours Local Plan, the plot of land is provisioned for development.
The government-owned plot in Pembroke was identified after several other options were examined, including the use of existing buildings. It forms only part of a larger parcel of land that has been earmarked for development, for many years, according to the school’s press statement.