Group - College campus plans revealed
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College campus plans revealed

Plans for a major overhaul of a College campus have been unveiled, sparking a new chapter for one of EKC Group’s latest acquisitions.

The Group has worked with local contractors on the design of two buildings, which are set to increase capacity and improve facilities at the Spring Lane at Canterbury College site.

The scheme – drawn up with the support of local firms Lee Evans Architects and b&m – is hoped to be completed in time for the 2023/24 academic year if given the go-ahead.

If approved, the proposals will allow more learners to get involved with the popular horticulture and animal management courses, as well as accessing courses at levels ranging from Pre-16 Junior College to Higher Education.

The planning application also seeks to bring the Spring Lane campus into the 21st Century in terms of sustainability, with design elements specifically responding to EKC Group’s wider sustainability drive. Careful thought has been put into the use of sustainable building materials, more natural daylight and environmental ventilation systems.

Another key feature will be the use of green roofs which would boost biodiversity while providing natural insulation in winter and assisting with cooling in the summer.

The new building plans come just a month after the Spring Lane at Canterbury College campus received top mark from an OFSTED monitoring inspection, which deemed the Group had done well to assimilate the site since taking it over in April 2020.

Demolition of existing buildings and their replacement are necessary due to the outdated and poor condition of the current structures, as judged by several surveyors. The new buildings would enable the former Hadlow College site to continue educating people of all ages – an aim specifically mentioned in Canterbury City Council’s draft Local Plan.

Dan Shelley, Chief Transformation Officer of EKC Group, said of the development: “Spring Lane is in need of new facilities to enable a growing number of students interested in horticulture and animal management to develop their skills to support the wider landbased sector to thrive and grow in East Kent.

“The designs are focused on sensitively replacing existing buildings and not increasing the footprint of the campus whilst added features such as green roofs, EV charging points and plenty of cycle storage befitting the campuses green focused offer and creating a specialist landbased facility.”  

Jessica Berry, Canterbury College’s Assistant Director for Curriculum, said: “EKC Group has committed to delivering a full range of Landbased courses from its Spring Lane campus, and as part of this commitment the current temporary buildings that have been in place for over 20 years are to be replaced.

“The new teaching spaces - including the upgraded glasshouse facilities, improved estates skills workshops and animal handling facilities - will house up-to-date industry equipment and technology that will prepare students for their future careers in Horticulture, Conservation, Countryside management and Animal Care and Welfare.

Come and learn more about these exciting plans at Springfest – Spring Lane’s family fun open day event – on Saturday, May 21 from 10am to 3pm.

For more information on the Spring Lane at Canterbury College campus, click here.