A planning application has been submitted to Hampshire County Council for approval of proposals for the current Mill Chase Academy to relocate to a new campus in Budds Lane; to be built on land currently owned by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Councillor Peter Edgar, Executive Member for Education at Hampshire County Council, commented: “I am very pleased that we are moving closer to constructing brand new buildings for educating the secondary school age pupils in the area.
“We have been working with the Mill Chase Academy, the University of Chichester Academy Trust and the MoD’s development partner, the Whitehill and Bordon Regeneration Company (WBRC), to develop these proposals. The new buildings will provide an opportunity for the Academy to continue to strengthen the quality and range of educational opportunities for the local area.
“A successful school is an essential element of a successful community. Construction of the new school facility will ensure that young people living locally, including those from families moving into the new homes over the coming years, and those from existing service families, will be able to go to a secondary school near to where they live, that offers exceptional educational, recreational and community amenities. This is unlikely to have been achievable without the County Council’s contribution to the Whitehill and Bordon partnership and its close working with the Academy and its sponsors, the University of Chichester, and the MoD.”
In November 2016, Hampshire County Council’s Leader, Councillor Roy Perry, gave his backing for the County Council to enter negotiations to acquire the land needed, secure additional funding and dispose of the former school to enable a new academy school facility to be built for 2019. Councillor Perry also approved a proposed County Council investment of £10 million towards the £30 million cost to build the new school facility, close to the town centre. The balance of funding will come from contributions from the WBRC, Homes and Communities Agency, East Hampshire District Council and the Education Funding Agency.
Commenting further, Councillor Edgar said: “Our commitment to the delivery of new school buildings is a further example of the key and active role that this County Council has in the regeneration of Whitehill and Bordon. This commitment includes providing the essential infrastructure needed for the new town.
“We have worked closely every step of the way, with our partners at the MoD, Homes and Communities Agency, Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership and East Hampshire District Council, and this will continue. The investment in the new facilities for the Mill Chase Academy will reinforce the recent positive judgement by Ofsted in October 2016 that the school is ‘good in all areas’. The new facilities will be supplemented with extensions to the Bordon Infant and Junior schools and, in the future, the creation of a new primary school as the town’s population grows.
“Hampshire County Council’s significant scale, capacity, experience and expertise to deliver high quality education and infrastructure facilities for Hampshire’s communities, makes us one of the few public bodies able to make projects like this happen.”
In addition to the proposed development of the new facilities for the Mill Chase Academy, the County Council has recently completed the first phase of the A325 relief road around Whitehill and Bordon and is investing in the construction of the second stage of the A325 relief road due to open in 2018. The County Council is also constructing a new Future Skills Centre for the town.
Mill Chase Academy is currently located on a shared site on the eastern edge of the town, in buildings which, due to their age, design and layout, are beginning to deteriorate, and are in need of extensive refurbishment or replacement.
It is expected that the planning application for the new school buildings will be determined in June and if this is successful, construction of the new school buildings will begin in autumn 2017. Completion is due in summer 2019 to allow the Mill Chase Academy to move to its new home in time for the start of that year’s autumn term.