Ilfield Foundation Special School, in Gravesend has been granted planning permission for a specialised centre for disability sports, art and culture by Kent County Council. The centre, dubbed “iSparc”, has been designed by Aukett Morley Architects – coordination between Michael Aukett Architects and David Morley Architects.
The centre aims to become a hub, not only for the development and enjoyment of the community, but to also offer specialised training across several subjects for teachers, coaches and managers.
Pam Jones OBE, Head teacher of Ifield School, said: “We’re very excited that Kent County Council has granted us outline planning permission for iSparc, especially as the school has been trying to build new sports facilities since 2002. Our challenge now is to secure funding for such an exciting scheme. Kent does not currently have a combined disability sports, arts and cultural venue and this centre will help to inspire children with special needs across the county to get involved in a multitude of sports and performing arts.”
The centre’s facilities are proposed to include:
· An accessible 25m swimming pool with ramp, hoists, spectator zone and cafe.
· An Outdoor football pitch, running track, climbing wall and wildlife area.
· A hall with sunken trampolines, hoists and specialised equipment.
· A Dance and performance arts studio and therapy rooms.
· A six-badminton court sports hall with equipment for Paralympic sports such as goalball, boccia, wheelchair basketball and other activities
Andy Mytom, partner, David Morley Architects, said, “iSparc is a shining example of what can be achieved by a Client that understands the potential for positive change through arts and sports. Ifield School’s passion and commitment to make this vision a reality is second to none and we are delighted to be working along-side them on this incredible project.”
Now that planning permission has been granted, the school will be able to move forward with fundraising and talks with investors .