St Mary’s Senior School

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  • Enhanced setting of heritage buildings
  • Improved, safer access
  • Conservation Area with a Tree Preservation Orders
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WWA were initially approached by St Mary’s Colchester to undertake a feasibility study to enhance the frontage of their senior school. We were then further appointed to develop the design, submit a planning application, and contract administer construction of the project.

The school is set within characterful heritage buildings – the main school building, originally a large private house, has operated as an independent day school for girls for over 90 years. Another prominent school building, The Turrets, is a Grade II listed Gothic folly.

The important landscape setting of these buildings had degraded over time as the school frontage became dominated by car parking. Access for cars and pedestrians was confused, creating potential for conflict. The site had additional sensitivities lying within a conservation area, with many high-quality mature trees in its grounds, some of which were subject to preservation orders.

Our landscape design creates better outdoor spaces for pupils to use, enhancing the overall appearance of the school frontage, rationalising car access and parking to provide safer access for pedestrians. We worked closely with Ingleton Wood, Trinity Construction Consultancy and Abacus Build to deliver the design

Due to the sensitive nature of the site, planning permission was obtained following extensive consultation with stakeholders. The sheer volume of trees on this site meant retention and protection was an important consideration from the outset, leading to reduced-dig construction methods used throughout the design. We carried out an arboricultural impact assessment and method statement to minimise the risk to existing trees during construction.

The new frontage included:
• attractive planting scheme
• formal access arrangements and car parking
• designated pedestrian pathways
• sensitive lighting scheme
• heritage-style railings and brick piers
• refreshed signage

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