School for children with learning difficulties approved by Worthing Borough Council

Rear view of Courtlands in Parklands Avenue, Goring, Worthing for school for children with learning difficulties

Need for school for children with learning difficulties

Worthing Borough Council has approved a vital educational centre with overnight accommodation for children with learning difficulties and autism. The Council has approved plans for Grade II listed Courtlands, in Goring, to be converted to be used for the education of children aged 11 to 16 with learning difficulties.

The building in Parklands Avenue has stood empty for five years but its character will be retained during its redevelopment.

Cllr Jim Deen, the chairman of Worthing Borough Council’s planning committee, said: “The committee recognised the urgent need for more of this kind of facility in Worthing. This will give children who really need it the chance to have access to specialised education.

“This development is also an excellent way of ensuring that the important heritage features of this wonderful building will be retained, as well as creating more than 30 jobs. The potential impact of the development on neighbouring housing was considered very carefully and we imposed conditions to ensure any impact is minimised.”

Conditions of the new school

Among the conditions are that a green perimeter fence will be built on the inside of the bordering hedge to hide it from outside view, that trees will be protected and that a multi-use games room will no longer be created.

The learning difficulties school plans to have a maximum of 23 children at any one time, with approximately 30-35 members of staff, including a manager, security, cook, housekeeper and healthcare professionals.

An existing conservatory will be demolished. A new shed, garden room and single-storey extension will be added.

History of the Courtlands site in Goring

Courtlands, which sits in 4.5 acres of mature gardens, dates back to 1820 when a farmhouse was built on the site. The Georgian-style house that now stands there was constructed in 1906.

During World War II, Courtlands was the HQ of the Canadian 1st Army. After the war it was taken over by Worthing Hospital for post-operative recovery, being formally opened in 1951 by Queen Elizabeth II, the year before her coronation.

Courtlands remained a hospital until 1973 before it was used as offices. A £1.4 million refurbishment led to it being given the 1999 Distinction in Building Award by Worthing Borough Council.

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