The Bishopston Society has heard from some of our members about the proposal to extend the school further. Though we understand the pressure for providing more primary school places in Bishopston, we share the concern of local residents, we would like to offer some suggestions, prior to the formal application.

The Planning Group of the Society believes the attached suggested amendments to be more in keeping with local surroundings and more harmonious in the Victorian context– than the current proposal which is also attached.
The school building is very extensive and, with the exception of the sports hall, remains intact to the original concept. The composition and execution of the building is of a high standard and arguably worthy of a Grade 2 listing. The draft design proposal has been consciously designed in an alien form and style to contrast with the existing building.    See picture ('As proposed') 

The theory behind this approach is that the old and the new mutually benefit from this contrast. This can succeed at the highest level of design when say converting a medieval building into an arts facility by the careful addition of extremely elegant minimalist insertions. This is not the case with this proposal. The new wing is simply designed in a form and style which, whilst having no connection with the existing building, is arbitrary and all too familiar from recent new-build educational and commercial projects.

By contrast, we feel that the existing school building is of an architectural quality such that it should be considered for listing and furthermore that any new extension to the building should be designed in such a manner that it respects and preserves the character of the existing composition. This is not to say that it is necessary or even feasible to replicate the existing old building in fine detail and for example to use natural stonework for all external walls, but it is paramount in our view to respect the character and form of the original in any new proposed addition. We have attached an alternative scheme, based on exactly the same plan layout, which demonstrates that it is possible to design the new extension in such a way that it sits harmoniously with and reinforces the composition and setting of the existing building (see 'Alternative' picture It would be all too easy to spoil the main frontage of the school by the addition of an inappropriate addition. Once the setting and integrity of the building is lost it is gone forever.

We strongly recommend that the draft proposal is reviewed and amended such that it complements the character and composition of the existing building.

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