Tor Bank School
Tor Bank is a school in Dundonald for pupils with complex learning needs aged from 3 to 19 years old.
Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast
The project relocates the school and develops a new purpose-built facility for Tor Bank to include a new canteen and PE hall, as well as a light and sound room and soft playground. The former school consisted of 9 mobile classrooms and a main building. The new school building caters for approximately 160 pupils and brings all pupils together under the same roof, transforming school life for the students at the school.
There was a need to ensure that the proposal overcame the presumption against building on protected open space. In addition, there were traffic implications that needed to be addressed during this project's planning phase. The project also had a short timeframe in which to obtain planning permission.
As part of a public-private sector partnership, Gravis Planning provided the planning and strategic communications services on a multi-disciplinary bid team, which was headed by the construction body GRAHAM.
Pre-Application Discussions (PADs) enabled issues to be identified early on in the design process and also encouraged continuous dialogue with Planning Service staff during the formal processing of the planning application in order to avoid any unnecessary delays.
We also proactively briefed elected representatives at Westminster, Assembly and Council levels to help maximise support for the project and to urge the planning authority to approve the application as quickly as possible. The application was approved within 4 months of submission and the project was completed in 2013.