£5.6million new buildings plan for Hatfield school

Onslow St Audrey's headteacher Michael Harpham.

Onslow St Audrey's headteacher Michael Harpham. - Credit: Archant

A Hatfield headteacher is hoping to bankroll new school buildings by selling off a strip of land between a playing field and railway line.

The current sports hall at Onslow St Audrey's School in Hatfield.

The current sports hall at Onslow St Audrey's School in Hatfield. - Credit: Archant

Plans are afoot to bring brand new facilities to Onslow St Audrey’s School in Hatfield by generating about £5.6million thanks to the sale of land for housing.

It is envisaged that about 86 new homes could be built on the site and a public consultation on the proposal is likely to be opened sometime in May.

If proposals go ahead, the cash boost will fund a new science lab with four classrooms upstairs, a full-size sports hall for activities such as circuit training, badminton, basket ball and netball, plus an AstroTurf multi-use games area.

Headteacher Michael Harpham told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “The project has been ongoing since 2012 and these sort of facilities are long overdue.

“The indoor space isn’t sufficient for the number of kids we have, especially for the sports they want to do.

“The new facilities will be great for them and for Hatfield.

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“It’s a win-win.

“The sports facilities would be available for community use.”

The school currently has a 1950s gym and pupils are also taken up to Hatfield Leisure Centre for PE.

Mr Harpham added: “Schools ideally shouldn’t be selling off any land whatsoever so we have had to write to the Government to ask for permission.

“The section 77 agreement was that we had to get at least £4.9million for it.

“The idea is to have a public consultation in May and go to planning sometime in the summer for the planning application.

“The sort of housing is still up in the air. I think it will be a mix of private and affordable.”