Work to start this month on Blackpool's special Lotus school

Work is due to start this month on the second of two Blackpool school projects worth together more than £5m.

By Tim Gavell
Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 10:36 am
The new Lotus School at Mereside
The new Lotus School at Mereside

Bamber Bridge-based Eric Wright Construction’s Special Projects division has been commissioned by Blackpool Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to build two new school facilities.

The first is for Pegasus School on Bathhurst Avenue where the team is building a four classroom extension and ancillary areas as well as refurbishing two adjoining classrooms.

The team has already started on site in March and work is expected to complete in August in time for the start of the new term.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The new Lotus School at Mereside

Eric Wright’s Special Project team has also been awarded the contract to deliver the new 48 pupil Lotus School, which is designed for children with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs.

The Lotus School was granted planning permission in Dec 2018 and will be built on a vacant plot of land on Langdale Road at Mereside. Work will start on site this month and will be completed in 2020.

The school is designed to save the authority hundreds of thousands of pounds a year which is currently spent on sending challenging pupils to schools outside the borough. Blackpool does not currently have specialist provision for SEMH pupils, with youngsters transported instead to 16 independent special schools outside the town.

The new school, which will be built over two floors, has been designed by architects Cassidy and Ashton to be a vibrant educational facility for the local community. There will be classrooms on both floors, along with a science lab, school hall and specialist therapy and sensory rooms.

Councillor Kath Benson, Cabinet Member for Schools, Education and Aspiration said: "The brand new, purpose-built facility will provide high-quality care and education for the growing number of children in our town who have special educational needs, closer to their homes.

"It will reduce the long distances that children have to travel to independent special schools out of the borough, and therefore, the time they spend away from their home and community.”

Stephen Knowles, head of special projects at Eric Wright Group said: “The delivery of these two new school projects continues our long association with Blackpool and we are proud to be appointed to deliver these new facilities for the local community.

"The Lotus School is especially important as it is the first of its kind for Blackpool and means that local children with special educational needs can be taught in their home town and not have to travel outside of the borough.”

Eric Wright has a strong association with Blackpool and last year completed the £2.3m refurbishment of the Woodlands School which is one of more than 50 projects undertaken by Eric Wright Group in the town in the last 25 years, with investments totalling £146m.