Issue details

21/00057 - Proposal to expand school sports facilities on the Wildernesse Campus

Proposed decision to –  


·       endorse the addition of £1.5m of Community Infrastructure Levy funding to total the project budget for the expansion of Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys onto a satellite, to provide enhanced sporting facilities on the Wildernesse Campus. The total budget allocated for the expansion will increase to £17.4m.


·       delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, to approve necessary development works required to develop the land into usable playing fields and to finalise the terms of and enter into relevant contracts or other legal agreements as required to implement this decision.


·       delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure in consultation with the General Counsel and Director of Education and Skills to enter into any necessary contracts / agreements on behalf of the County Council.


·       authorise the Director of Infrastructure to be the nominated Authority Representative within the relevant agreements and to enter into variations as envisaged under the contracts.


         Reason for the decision

The accommodation for Trinity School and Weald of Kent Grammar School have been built and the schools are offering places on the Wildernesse Campus.   In order to expand Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys by 3FE, KCC are building a satellite of the school on the Wildernesse Campus.


The establishment of a satellite provision for Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys adds 3FE to the existing 6FE and 3FE from Trinity School and Weald of Kent Grammar School, respectively.  The decision to expand Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys can be viewed here:


The original site design indicated that there was sufficient land to provide adequate sports facilities for 12FE, but it was understood and accepted that there would have to be very close integration of sports and physical education curricula across the three users.


The site survey conducted in 2019 indicated that the gross site area of the Wildernesse Campus, for a pupil population of the site of 2,400 (12FE) was just within the range for a 12FE site according to Building Bulletin 103.  However, the net area was below that suggested, because large areas were not suitable for formal sporting facilities, being habitat or protected woodland.  Nevertheless, studies indicated that the three schools would be able to deliver their sporting curriculum if the existing facilities were carefully managed and scheduled between the schools.


In late 2019, an opportunity arose where land adjacent to the school was offered for sale by the Royal Society for Blind Children.  The land measured approximately 9 acres and would support the provision of a further two grassed areas for summer and winter sport, including football, athletics, cricket and rugby


A decision to purchase the land was taken by the Cabinet member, decision number 20/00045 (Purchase of Land South of Seal Drive in Sevenoaks)


Following the acquisition of the new land, KCC’s appointed consultants were able to reconsider the sports offer.  The revised proposal is a significant expansion to the original project aspirations, providing additional facilities including laying two more all-weather pitches, resulting in there being one for each school.  The list of the new proposed sports offer is:


         Two 4-court indoor sports halls.

         Seven hard surface MUGA (Multi-Use Games Areas) marked for tennis, netball, basketball, five a side football and other sports.

         One all-weather pitch surfaced for hockey (with LED lighting)

         Two all-weather pitch surfaced for football or rugby (with LED lighting)

         Grassed areas for use with summer and winter markings, to facilitate:


o        Two grassed football / rugby pitches.

o        Training squares.


o        Cricket wicket and field

o        Athletics track

o        100m straight sprint track.

o        Long jump and field athletics areas for javelin, discus & shot.

o        Two rounders squares.

o        Cricket nets

         Cross country circuit, approx. 1.5km


Enhancing the sports facilities as outlined above would result in an additional cost to the CYPE capital budget, estimated at £1.5m.  Therefore, to ensure the three schools on the campus could access enhanced more flexible sporting facilities, which would not only increase their ability to timetable more easily but also provide enhanced facilities for use by the wider community, it was decided that a bid for CIL funding should be submitted to Sevenoaks District Council


In order to provide the correct facilities, KCC has sought advice and accreditation from National sporting bodies including the Football Association, England Hockey and Sport England.  Pitches and facilities are being provided in line with these national guidelines.


Sevenoaks District Council has, as requirement for release of CIL funding, requested that the facilities have a strong community focus, and be able to be available for use by the community out of school hours and weekends.  KCC and the three schools have had many enquiries from local sports clubs and groups about pitch availability once the project is complete.



There are no options.


         How the proposed decision meets the objectives of ‘Increasing Opportunities, Improving Outcomes: Kent County Council’s Strategic Statement (2015-2020)’


School Sports Facilities

The project greatly enhances the outdoor sports provision for the Trinity School, the Weald of Kent Grammar School and Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys.


Depending on the season and the curriculums of the schools, the grassed areas could be marked for hockey, athletics, rugby or football or several smaller training areas. The additional land would also offer opportunities for cross country running around the perimeter, offering a total running distance of more than 1.5km, across a challenging mix of vegetation, gradients and direction changes.


Additional Community Use Facilities

There is quite a demand for sports facilities in Sevenoaks and the schools on the site would work together to make certain areas of the site available for hire by the local community, when and where it is appropriate, i.e. when not in use by the schools.  New pitches would result in the existing facilities being not overused.  This adds to the potential for out of hours community use.

Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Notice of proposed decision first published: 22/06/2021

Decision due: Not before 21st Jul 2021 by Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Contact: Ian Watts, Assistant Director Education, North 03000 414302 Email: Tel: 03000 414302.

Financial implications: Capital There is no cost to the CYPE Capital budget. A study was carried out in 2020, which estimated the cost of delivery being approximately £1.5m, over and above the funding previously agreed for the Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys expansion. It was decided that KCC would apply to Sevenoaks District Council for the funding to be awarded under the Community Infrastructure Levy. KCC were successful with their bid for funding and, pending legal agreement, will receive this when it is required. The CIL funding from Sevenoaks District Council will be solely used to facilitate the new sports facilities. All other works to the Campus are fully costed in the existing budget as agreed in the decision number 20/00009. Revenue The maintenance costs for the additional sports facilities will be through the schools’ budgets, facilitated by a joint agreement between all parties.

Legal implications: Contracting for KCC framework building contractors.

Equalities implications: Two Equality Impact Assessments have been completed which apply to this project and the proposal has been assessed as offering improved facilities for students with disabilities and for students of faith and no faith.


Agenda items