9th October 2019

Planning approval for new secondary school campus design

Exciting step forward for creative adaption school project in Rugby

We are excited to announce that our proposed design for Houlton School, a new 11,350m2 secondary school in Rugby, has just been granted planning permission and listed building consent.

James McCosh, Partner at van Heyningen and Haward Architects said:

“We are delighted to have achieved consents for a new state school that unashamedly transforms the energy performance of a major historic building, and combines our knowledge of education and community buildings, our heritage experience and our steady commitment to Passivhaus principals. The teamwork throughout the process has been inspiring, and the quality of the school design is a direct consequence of U&C and TLET’s commitment delivering an exemplary school for Houlton”

The £35m Houlton School project involves the creative adaption of the Grade II former Rugby Radio Station transmitter building, and its contemporary water tower, plus the construction of three new teaching blocks to form the new school campus. Close liaison with the wider project team, led by JTP, has allowed the Schools buildings and landscape to form a key part of the masterplan for the Houlton district centre.

Detailed negotiations with Historic England, the Twentieth Century Society and Rugby Borough Council have enabled vHH to restore the facades, stripping back and reversing low quality additions, preserve the industrial character of the principal internal spaces, and provide excellent teaching, learning and community facilities.

The design combines the careful thermal upgrade of the historic building fabric with the addition of three very highly performing new blocks to allow the overall energy requirements and running costs of the school to be minimised. Energy use has been modelled using the PHPP software to understand the likely actual energy use, and specification and details developed to maximise value.

James Higham, CEO of the Transforming Lives Education Trust, commented:

“This is such an exciting moment for Houlton School and the team at TLET. A lot of hard work and energy has got us to this point and the recently granted planning consent for the school’s development is a significant milestone on our journey to provide educational excellence for the Houlton community. Our partnership with vHH Architects has been hugely supportive to date and we value their visionary and innovative design approach in realising what will be a truly exceptional school and learning environment.”

Main contract works will commence in early 2020, so that the new school will be ready for students in September 2021.

The school is a joint venture between Houlton’s master developer Urban&Civic, Aviva Investors, Warwickshire County Council (WCC) and the Department for Education (DfE) and will be run by the Transforming Lives Educational Trust (TLET).

Richard Coppell, Development Director for Urban&Civic said;

It is fabulous news that the planning application for Houlton School has been approved, which marks a major milestone in the development of Houlton. The school will become an important statement building in the heart of Houlton’s growing community and provides us with a rare and exciting opportunity to turn a piece of Rugby’s rich history into a state-of-the-art facility for our local residents and families across the town.