Addington School is a Special Educational Needs School catering for a range of pupils aged between 2 and 19 with learning difficulties or disorders who have special educational requirements. As such, it provides a 1:1 ratio of staff to pupils. It is proposed to expand the school through the provision of new teaching facilities, car parking and associated play areas, and h+m were commissioned to identify and assess the potential landscape, townscape and visual impacts resulting from the proposed expansion.
The existing Addington School site forms part of an extensive education and community facility for the surrounding population, and its open spaces importantly form part of the Bulmershe Site of Urban Landscape Value (SULV), where the combination of playing fields, open space with associated tree cover, woodland and allotments provides an open and undeveloped space between the settlements of Earley and Woodley. Consequently, the LVIA focussed on the likely impacts on this locally designated landscape.
The assessment concluded that the integrity of the SULV designation would not be undermined by the introduction of the expanded school development, and it would continue to provide a significant landscape resource with a strong sense of place within the surrounding urban area. The limited scale of the development proposal, set low within the surrounding landform and predominantly screened by intervening tree groups in views from most directions were key factors in the assessment process. Mitigation measures were proposed to limit the visibility of the proposed car park extension in views from the adjacent public road.