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The Abbey School

Authority: Reading Borough Council


Proposed development:


KEW Planning acted on behalf of The Abbey School, providing town planning services to successfully obtain planning permission for the erection of a new dining hall, plus a rooftop extension to the 6th Form block to provide a new common room; including an extension to the south-east to provide additional classroom space and a new study area for the 6th Form block. 


Planning issues:


The school sits within the Kendrick Conservation Area, requiring a sensitive high quality design to protect the heritage asset.  A small group of 4no. Scott pine trees that were due to be removed, had a Tree Preservation Order placed on them during the determination of the application.  Following the objection from the Borough Tree Officer, RBC intended to recommend the application for refusal.  


In addition, shortly before planning committee a request for a legal agreement was also made to secure a percentage of employment skills and training for residents of the Borough.  This would have resulted in significant delays in the formal decision notice being issued.



Together with Eight Associates and Kendall Kingscott Architects, KEW Planning helped to secure agreement that the new planting of semi-mature Scott pines would compensate for the loss of the 4no. TPO trees.  


KEW Planning provided planning consultancy services, undertaking the pre-application process; reviewing the technical reports; preparing and submitting the Full Planning Application.  Establishing a good rapport with the planning officer was paramount to agreeing and negotiating on the mitigation strategy to compensate for the loss of the TPO trees and securing the employment skills and training for residents of the Borough via a Grampian condition, as opposed to a legal agreement.  The application was determined during the COVID-19 pandemic and consequently there would have been a minimum 6 month delay, if a legal agreement had been sought.


KEW Planning built a good relationship with the Planning Officer and successfully negotiated and agreed, pragmatic solutions to ensure the planning decision was secured.  The result was a unanimous approval at Reading’s first virtual Planning Committee.

“KEW Planning made very good progress establishing a relationship with the planning officer, which really helped to create a good dialogue. We are absolutely delighted to be able to start the first phase in the refurbishment and modernisation of the school campus. We look forward to continuing to work with KEW Planning in the forthcoming phases. ”

Mark Lucas, Head of Estates, The Abbey School