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A new £55m ‘Education Hub’ for Ebbsfleet Garden City

Lee Evans Partnership LLP, have been appointed to lead the design of a new £55 million ‘Education Hub’ at Whitecliffe, formally known as Eastern Quarry in Ebbsfleet Garden City, for Henley Camland.

The scheme will include a new 2FE primary school, an 8FE secondary school, a dual use community sports centre with external sports pitches, and a ‘Life Long Learning Centre’, which will provide an education and civic centre for the emerging community.

Whitecliffe is currently one of the largest development sites in the Thames Gateway, being positioned in a strategic location between Kent and London.  Over 6,000 new homes are planned for the area, alongside schools, community amenities, commercial and employment ventures, and leisure facilities.

Located within the central Alkerden Village area of Whitecliffe, the Education Hub will be strategically and visibly located, forming a key focal point in the local community.  Positioned on Fastrack, the bus rapid transport system providing efficient dedicated bus routes to key local destinations, the scale and design of the development will reflect its prominence in the area, and look to reference the industrial quarry heritage of the site.

Two separate school structures will occupy the 12.2 hectare ‘Education Hub’ site; a two form-entry primary school, accommodating 446 pupils; and a large eight form-entry secondary school providing space for 1,680 students aged 11-18 years.  A 1,900m2 sports centre will also be incorporated into the secondary school, providing dual-use facilities for the secondary school and the local community, comprising a four-court sports hall, dance studio, fitness rooms and a café/bar area.

Externally, four full-sized grass pitches are provided, together with all-weather pitch and a track and field facility.

In addition, a Community Hub will be constructed on a nearby site. This hub will provide a variety of essential community facilities, including a ‘Life Long Learning Centre’, public library, community information centre, adult education services, a private nursery accommodating up to 90 children, a Job Centre, a base for local police, youth services, and a community centre.

This appointment follows Lee Evans Partnership’s previous and ongoing success at Ebbsfleet Garden City, including the development of a large number of residential properties for clients Taylor Wimpey, Clarion Homes, and Newcrest.

Last year also saw the opening of Cherry Orchard Primary Academy and Castle Hill Community Centre, designed by the Partnership.  Located within the Castle Hill area of the Ebbsfleet, this was the first new primary school for the Garden City, accommodating in excess of 460 pupils, and designed with future expansion in mind.  Cherry Orchard Primary Academy, together with the adjacent Community Centre, were praised for their design and contribution to the community, being shortlisted for the 2018 Kent Design and Development Awards.

Lee Evans Partnership’s London Partner, Mark Nolan said; “With our extensive previous experience across Ebbsfleet Garden City over the last five years, we have developed a real understanding of  Henley Camland’s vision for the area. We look forward to working with the multiple stakeholders involved with the Garden City project to help create an exemplar education and community facility around which the burgeoning community can grow.”

Opening of the Education & Community Hub is currently planned for September 2021.