5) Landscape design and external works
Details of the landscape design and external works for the replacement Mountjoy School project.
The location of the new Mountjoy School within the Beaminster Technology College campus is highly visible from the surrounding Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Brit Valley Landscape Character Area. To minimise any visual intrusion and impact on the landscape character, elements which reflect the key characteristics of the surrounding landscape have been incorporated into the design. These include:
- Native mixed planting belts
- Species-rich hedgerow boundaries
- Trees in hedgerows.
The location of the new development to the north of the existing sports hall at Beaminster Technology College required the removal of a portion of hedgerow and trees. However a significant area of existing trees and hedgerow adjacent to the northern boundary of the site has been retained, and along both sides of Crooked Lane to the north east of the proposed development.
Replacement and supplementary planting is being planted around the new building, and along existing hedgerows and boundaries to the east, west and north of the development.
Further enhancement of the existing landscape structure is provided by strengthening the planting along the western boundary of the school playing field, in order to make this element one of the strongest visual features within the school landscape.
The effect of the retained vegetation and additional planting will ensure the building settles unobtrusively into the existing school campus and harmonises with the surrounding landscape, taking into account both short and long range views.
The varied needs of all pupils at Mountjoy School require a variety of secure outdoor spaces and experiences.
These areas will include:
Quiet areas for those with autism
Areas for noisy group play
Areas for physical and coordination development
Areas for outdoor teaching
Proposed landscape elements may include:
Separate areas enclosed with trimmed hedges and mesh fencing
Sensory gardens with scent-producing plants and paving material with contrasting textures and colours
Macadam play areas for noisy group games
Shade giving structural elements
Outdoor learning areas and a cycle path.
The shared courtyard in the heart of the school's campus will provide an attractive, enclosed social, informal recreation space for use by all students and staff of both Mountjoy and Beaminster Schools.
Lawns and ornamental planting have been provided to the south of the new school hall and dining terrace. This softens the impact of the building and help to screen views of the existing sports hall, particularly from residential areas to the east.
Access, circulation and sports provision
All vehicular access, school transport and staff cars arrive at the schools via the A3066 Tunnel Road, with the exception of a small number of deliveries and visitors to the existing reception at Beaminster Technology College.
This proposal significantly improve traffic congestion and safety for pedestrians on the narrow lanes to the east of the school.
Pedestrian routes linking the new Mountjoy School with the existing path network have been provided and will be fully accessible, including a new footpath link with the memorial playing fields and the town.
The inclusion of a synthetic turf pitch with lighting is an exciting addition to the development. The new facility is of sporting benefit to Mountjoy School, Beaminster Technology College and the wider community.