A NEW £7.3million primary school planned for Taunton is set to become Somerset’s first net zero carbon school.

The 420-place school, which includes a 60-place nursery, will serve the Orchard Grove housing development in Comeytrowe.

It will be fossil fuel free and use air source heat pumps and excellent air tightness to keep the building warm when it opens in September 2023.

Cllr Clare Paul, County Hall’s cabinet member for education and public health, said: “I’m delighted we’re bringing forward another new school for children in Somerset and excited to see plans for this to be the county’s first carbon neutral school building.

“This fits squarely with the county council’s ambitious plans to reduce Somerset’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2030.

“I’m pleased to see the project progressing to develop a Comeytrowe school fit to meet the demand from expected new housing in the area, and which we aim to open for 2023/24 school admissions.”

Somerset County Council has appointed Futures for Somerset to deliver the project, which has been designed by architects Stride Treglown to minimise environmental impact in line with the authority’s commitment to make Somerset carbon neutral by 2030.

The design is based on the ‘passivhaus’ internationally recognised, performance-based energy standard in construction.

Cllr David Hall, the council’s cabinet member for economic development and community infrastructure, said: “Somerset County Council is determined to lead the way when it comes to tackling the impacts of climate change in Somerset.

“Considering how to reduce emissions when developing new projects is at the forefront of our decision making and this new school is a good example of the Climate Emergency Strategy in action.”

Last November, Somerset’s five councils agreed to a plan for the county to go carbon neutral by 2030.

Responsible for delivering the new Orchard Grove community is a consortium of leading housebuilders – Taylor Wimpey and Vistry Group, which includes Bovis Homes and Linden Homes.

Vistry Group is working on the project as a joint venture with South West housing association, LiveWest.

The vision behind the 2,000-home development is to create a garden community with residents enjoying from shared amenities and abundant outdoor space.

Sue Scholfield, from Vistry Group and the Orchard Grove consortium, said: “Delivering new developments is about so much more than housing.

“The new school will provide a vital amenity at Orchard Grove.

“We anticipate it will be a source of pride and opportunity for this new community and future generations.”

Construction on the school is due to start in April 2022.


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