(February 2000) Sibford Ferris Parish Council

The head of Sibford School gave a report on the long term proposals for developing the school.

The bungalows in Back Lane have been sold and the proceeds will be used to create a new main entrance from Hook Norton Road which is being considered. for planning permission at the moment.

The next phase will be to sell the Manor as the building needs huge amounts of money spent on it to replace the roof and to bring it up to 2000’s standards for fire protection etc. Disposal was planned as long ago as the 1930’s. The school would dispose of the entire site including the garden and the land behind. It is not yet on the market but approaches have been made by various developers. It is thought that the site may be developed as flats, possible refurbishing the swimming pool and demolishing Gillett House to build “executive” houses.

The site would be exchanged for a major development of the Hill site and clearly phasing would be important. The heart of the new development would be a new meeting hall, of circular design, which would be capable of conversion to a 630 seater concert hall. This would be a huge asset, not only to the school but also to the area as nothing like it exists. The old hall would be rebuilt as a theatre complete with purpose built changing rooms, etc. This could be an asset to the village and would attract public productions as well as being useful in attracting holiday lets. A new music building would be situated by the South Corridor with state of the art facilities suitable for GCSE and A level courses. A new Art block complete with a sculpture garden and exhibition facilities is also proposed. This would include CAD and film production facilities. A new swimming pool will be built adjacent to the Sports Hall.

The whole campus will be pedestrianised with a circulation route for traffic to and from it. The existing main entrance will be blocked off. All the buildings will be of a high build quality rather than the rather cheap tradition. of the past.

The school has now decided to retain the Ark.

Being a Quaker organisation, the school cannot apply for National Lottery funding and so raising money will not be easy.

Councillors were very interested by the plans but clearly the impact on the Village will not only come from the new school drive but also from what the developers want to do on the manor site. Access will be an issue as will parking and maybe pressure to build on adjacent land in the valley.