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Community Engagement & Mixed Use Developments

18 Oct 2023
Design, Construction & Delivery Stage

Planning for better schools and colleges
Ruth Cunningham, Senior Planning & Development Manager, LocatEd

Ruth will talk about how modifying sites and creating new mixed-use developments can deliver key government priorities – including healthcare facilities, new homes, energy (solar), biodiversity net gain – without compromising provision of playing fields and outdoor recreation.

She will cite examples where this has been achieved, with the DfE working in partnership with local authorities, other government departments, development partners, contractors and the public sector.

There remain barriers in the planning system to realising the full extent of the opportunity and delivering quickly: while planning policy and allocations can help, these can take years to achieve; and local politics or insufficient resourcing can delay or put a stop to strategically important schemes.

Ruth will also talk about solutions and mitigations include greater cross-working arrangements being in place at an early stage, full co-operation between public bodies, and a greater focus on producing quicker and better outcomes.

How the last three years will positively change our childrens future learning environment
Paul Turpin, UK Learning+ Lead, Arcadis

We’ve seen a lot of enforced changes in education over the last three years due to lockdown. There have been many positive initiatives (despite all the negativity we hear). However, we are seeing that some school settings are returning to type.

We designed Nine Elms Primary School during the first lockdown and developed a number of ideas that were hugely influenced by the innovations we were seeing in the schools and communities all around us. When adapted into a permanent model these would influence the future learning environment for children and respond in helping modernise the teaching profession to attract and retain the best staff. They would also enhance the Healthy School Model that considers building fabric and space, sustainability and technology as well as:

  • Capturing the power of Community
  • Creating wider learning opportunities beyond the four walls of a school
  • Developing an inspiring learning environment
  • Positioning the outdoors at the heart of learning

We will profile these ideas and how these will improve the health and wellbeing and improve the development of the children, staff and community.


Mike Lea, Head of Planning - Capital Directorate - Department for Education
Ruth Cunningham, Senior Planning & Development Manager - LocatED
Paul Turpin, Learning+ UK Lead - Arcadis



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