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A Secondary School Strategy for Trowbridge

Great Whaddon will provide a new secondary school site for the eastern side of Trowbridge. The school would serve the children here and at Staverton, and would also be big enough to serve Hilperton, Hilperton Marsh, and Paxcroft Mead.

The Council’s 2021 Local Plan consultation suggested a site at the Hilperton Marsh Farm area, off Hill Street. This location would disintegrate the masterplan for Great Whaddon and require the removal of a significant hedgerow.

A location closer to Trowbridge Rugby Club is better connected, delivering off-street walking and cycling routes and providing the opportunity for other shared leisure and sporting facilities. There are options either side of the A361. We believe the Local Plan should not lock down the first two fields east of the A361 for a Country Park until there has been a full masterplanning exercise looking at all land uses.

The Council’s 2023 Local Plan consultation for 600 homes would only generate planning contributions (developer payments) to go towards off-site secondary school places. This money could be used to expand existing schools on the western side of Trowbridge. All the children from this smaller scheme development would have to travel across town. They would be joined by those from Ashton Park as it is unlikely to be built (based on our interpretation of the Council’s most recent School Place Plan). Existing schools will become super-sized.

Great Whaddon can provide the site for the new school immediately and, with the development at Staverton, most of the funding for it. Ashton Park’s contributions would also be better deployed to deliver this new school, as would those from Elizabeth Way.

Two new primary schools, and early years facilities would absorb the demand from new development.

Wouldn’t it be great to develop fantastic looking new schools for children to enjoy their education?

© Francis Roberts Architects

Community Hubs

We also envisage two neighbourhood centres within Great Whaddon; one at Hilperton Marsh Farm and another nearer to the Rugby Club. These would also serve the site at Staverton and existing residential areas.

© John Simpson Architects

These centres are designed as integral parts of the development and the street scene. Our inspiration comes from places such as Fairford Leys (Aylesbury), Dickens Heath (Solihull) and Poundbury (Dorchester). There is a great opportunity to link a new local centre to the activity at Hilperton Marsh Farm, and another to Paxcroft Farm and the new secondary school. The Council’s short-term plan for 600 homes is likely to hinder rather than help achieve the best outcome.

There will also be a need for new community meeting spaces to absorb the demand generated by new families for a wide range of clubs, activities, and events. In discussions with the Council and others, we will plan for the needs of all people and the full range of service provision that any community needs. We have the land to build whatever is required. Pressure on primary healthcare is normally top of the list of local concerns. An Integrated Healthcare Centre has planning permission at Seymour Road, and such facilities are designed to cater for a town scale level of need.