School lodges application for new playground equipment after losing land for housing

A primary school is planning to add new play equipment to its grounds, to help make up for losing its “forest school” site for housing.

Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge C of E Primary School
Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge C of E Primary School

Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge Church of England Primary School has applied to build three wooden structures on the south side of its main building.

Application documents says the wood-framed equipment will be “relatively unobtrusive” with a “low impact” on its historic surroundings.

A heritage statement says land previously used for outdoor activities was sold for housing three years ago, “significantly reducing” accessible play area, but says the new proposal will “drastically improve” exercise opportunities at the Coalbrookdale school.

Telford & Wrekin Council’s planning department will make a decision about the plans at a later date.

A separate application to place a “space net” – a four metre tall rope climbing frame – in the main playground, facing Dale End, was approved by planners in July.

Blueprints for the new proposal show an “up and over net”, a wooden frame with diagonal ropes leading from the floor to its crossbar, four “balance poles” suspended within a frame with standing disks near the bottom, and a horizontal suspended “balance net”.

The highest of these – the balance poles structure – reaches 2.6 metres.

Reduced

The application form, submitted by principal Susan Blackburn, acknowledges that the school and its playground fall within the Severn Gorge Conservation Area and the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, and says a “relatively unobtrusive, low-impact” design was chosen to help preserve this.

An attached heritage statement notes that, if approved, the new equipment will not be visible from the road.

It adds: “Land previously used for forest schools adjacent to the school has been sold for housing around three years ago but as yet has not been built upon.

“The loss of use of this land has significantly reduced play areas accessible during the school day.

“The equipment will drastically improve the PE opportunities and play opportunities for all pupils at the school.

“We currently do not have any large playing fields on site and do not have any play equipment apart from a slide for our younger pupils.”

The Gorge Parish Council, along with some residents of Buildwas Road and Dale End, will be asked for their views during a consultation period that runs until Friday, October 9.

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