SEN school Luxborough lane

Location: Former Tottenham Hotspur Training Ground, Chigwell, Epping Forest District Council
Client: Anderson Foundation
Uses: 4000 sq.m New SEN School for the National Autistic Society and enabling developing of 60 Houses

This scheme delivers a unique opportunity to provide a state-of-the-art education facility that will not only respond to the major shortfall of ASD school places in the local area, but will raise the quality and choice of education provision in the district. The site extends to 23.5Ha and is broadly defined in two areas separated by the extension to Luxborough Lane accessing the redundant Thames Water site to the south. In order to deliver the state-of-the-art facility, the school is funded in its entirety by the Anderson Foundation who have a long standing association with the National Autistic Society (NAS). Alongside ongoing fundraising efforts, and in order to raise the remaining £40+m required for the development of the essential school facility, a new residential community is also proposed on the site.

The new school will be an independent day school run by the NAS for children with autistic-spectrum disorder (ASD) as their main SEN. it will provide up to 128 places for pupils aged 5-16, with 16 pupils in a post-16 unit. In addition to providing education accommodation, the building will include an assessment centre and two pairs of houses that will be used by the Post 16 unit, for therapy, visiting professionals and family’s.

A key element for the approach to the design of the new residential community has been to integrate its layout and massing into the existing site and wider landscape setting as well as providing a structural frame to the edge of the new open space and parkland. The houses form short terraces with traditional pitched roofs; some of the large houses are detached with linking walls to maintain the definition of the public realm. Houses are predominantly two storeys, but with some having three storey elements to create variety and a rich and interesting roofscape. some of the large houses enjoy roof terraces which add to the visual complexity and individual amenity.

The central area of the site has been proposed as a generous open space, much like the traditional village green at the heart of a community. This space offers great benefits both to the new population as well as those living in the wider area however most importantly this space will create an appropriate setting for the development within this greenbelt location. One of the key ambitions has been to enhance the quality and character of the greenbelt here because the existing uses have so heavily impacted on any natural setting. the engineered topography of the pitches, and the existing landscape give no indication of the natural rural setting you might have expected against the river.