OMI Birtenshaw School 1

OMI submits plans for Birtenshaw School expansion

Architect OMI has lodged a planning application for an expansion of Birtenshaw School in Bromley Cross, Bolton, which will provide teaching space and facilities for children and young adults with special educational needs and disabilities.

The site off Darwen Road previously housed the school before its move to a nearby new-build facility in 2012.

Vacant buildings on the site, including Birtenshaw Hall and a former coach house, will be demolished as part of OMI’s proposals, after the school said the existing facilities “could not be economically renovated to be fit for the purpose for a school building for disabled children in this generation”.

The former coach house was subject to an arson attack last year, and the client has already submitted a prior notification of demolition to the badly-damaged building. Although the site lies within the green belt, it is classed as brownfield having been previously developed.

The school has also been over-subscribed for the past two years, and according to the architect, the school would “cease to be able to accept referrals” if the extension is not brought forward.

OMI’s proposals would provide classroom spaces for 40 school children and 40 in an early years nursery. The design incorporates a 20m hydrotherapy pool, 10 classrooms, a dedicated “rebound therapy” room with an in-built sunken trampoline, soft play areas, and a multi-sensory sound and light room.

A courtyard garden at the centre of the building is also proposed, as well as a sports and dining hall.

OMI held a series of consultations between May 2016 and September 2017 with Bolton Council’s planning department and said the design had been “received positively” by the council.

The project team also held a public consultation in November last year.

Alongside OMI, the professional team includes SK Transport as transport planner; Paul Butler Associates as planning consultant; and DEP as ecological consultant. A ground investigation report for the scheme was prepared by Arup.

OMI Birtenshaw School 2

The new-build’s 10 classrooms will be linked by a courtyard

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