Frequently-Asked Questions

SD106 - Site as proposed
SD106 - Site as proposed

How will this development be different from the one situated off Beldams Lane?

We have taken our time to develop this project and are confident in making the best use of the space available for our students and the local community. We are engaging with our neighbours in advance of any official public consultation because we are committed to moving the project forward in a sensitive and sustainable manner. After approaching our local Councillor we have received a copy of the list of residents’ concerns regarding the Sports Centre at Beldams Lane and will be taking specific steps to ensure our project avoids any similar issues.


What will the opening times be?

Community use:

10am – 9pm on weekdays

9am – 7pm on Saturdays

9am – 6pm on Sundays


School Use:

9am – 5pm on weekdays (20 car park permits available to sixth form students from 8am)


What will the acoustic boundary look like?

We have engaged with a landscape design consultant and have requested several options to present to our neighbours.


Is there scope to widen the footpath along the Dunmow Road to make it safer for people travelling to the site on foot?

We are open to the idea of gifting a strip of land from the Dunmow Road perimeter of the site to Highways, in order that the pathway could be widened.


Have you thought about having vehicle access to the side from Raynham Road? A mini roundabout at the top of Raynham Road with an entrance onto the development site might create easier access.

Yes we have, but the wooded area of the site adjacent to Raynham Road is covered by a blanket tree preservation order (TPO). We have looked at a number of possible locations for the vehicle entrance which can be downloaded here:

The School would be happy to add its support if proposals are lobbied for the creation of a new roundabout at the entrance to Raynham road and would consider gifting a small amount of land at the Southern end of the site to help facilitate this.


Traffic: Concerns that the approach road will become more congested, especially while the building work is carried out and on match days if Bishop’s Stortford Football Club decide to use the facilities.

The school is conscious that this is an issue and is looking to limit access times to the site to avoid peak periods. Parking will also be available on the main school site to alleviate pressure on the Dunmow Road.  The current football ground lies off the same road just a few hundred meters away from our proposed development site, therefore the potential football club move will not create a long term net increase in traffic.


Will there be new double yellow lines implemented on Dunmow Road to discourage parking?

We will raise this with our local Councillors alongside the ongoing discussion regarding the creation of a resident parking zone in Woodlands.



How will we ensure that the local roads are not used for site related parking?

Car parking will be closely managed. At busy periods the car parking areas on the main school site will be available. If Bishop’s Stortford Football Club decided to use the premises, they will provide marshals on match days to prevent overspill into neighbouring roads. The only pedestrian access to the site will be via the gate on Parsonage Lane, which is almost opposite the School’s existing car park. It would therefore be quicker to walk from here than any of the streets nearby streets. The average number of cars parking at the Football Club on match days during the 2019/2020 season was 65, with a peak of 86. There is ample parking available on the main school site to accommodate this. Parking on both sites will be free of charge at all times.


How much has been spent on the project so far by the School – architects, surveys etc

The funding that has been used thus far has come from community lettings revenue, the project is ongoing and costs will be presented at an appropriate time.


How long will the project take? What is the build time?

There is an unknown time frame on funding. Spade in the ground to completion is being suggested to be 12-18 months.


How will the project be funded? Will we be accepting funding from property developers?

Grant applications, Section 106, the Town Council also have some funding available for sport, possible contribution from Football Club.


What will happen to the existing permissive footpath that crosses through the site from Raynham Road to Summercroft Primary School?

We are planning to reroute the current permissive path. Discussions are underway with Summercroft and Hertfordshire County Council.  We will permit use for Summercroft families to continue until there is an alternative in place.


Will we be using any of Summercroft Primary School’s land? Is there the potential for the development to spread onto their side?

We are in discussion with Summercroft as we are planning to develop their pond area to create an educational resource for their pupils.


Would the School consider making our rugby pitches available for casual use outside of school hours by providing gated access once the new fencing is complete?

We will look into this.


Is our other school field ‘safe from development?

Yes, we need to ensure other sports are protected and available for our students to access. That field has four rugby pitches and a running track.


Have we considered ‘Fields in Trust’ to preserve the site for the future?

We are looking into this


Are we going to have a licensed bar?

We won’t disregard the idea of a licensed bar, it depends on who the users will be and what times this would be needed. We would also be looking at a coffee bar and café area.




Is there the potential for the types of users to change if the School’s priorities change? eg Concerts, circus’s

There is no intention to allow this type of activity on the site.  This will be detailed in our Community Use Agreement and may be a condition of planning. We are open to the idea of forming a Steering Committee for the site involving local residents, Councillors and Birchwood High School representatives to ensure that the land is retained for agreed School and local community use in perpetuity.


What is the expected spectator capacity? If the Football Club weren’t involved would we require the same number of stands?

The numbers on the plans are indicative for now. We will be discussing the clubs specific requirements, and details will be provided at a later stage if the Club decide they would like to use this facility.


Is the involvement of the Football Club necessary for the development to go ahead?



When will Fixtures take place?

If Bishop’s Stortford Football Club decide to use the facility, their fixtures are every other Saturday during the football season (approx. 20 home games a year), plus occasional Tuesday evenings as an alternative if a match has to be postponed. Bishop’s Stortford Community Football Club have youth fixtures on Saturday and Sunday mornings throughout the football season.



A floodlight design and report is available here:



We will be discussing the Bishop’s Stortford Football Club’s specific requirements, and details will be provided at a later stage if the Club decide they would like to use this facility.  If tannoys are required consideration will be taken as to how we can minimise noise impact.


The Football Club currently generate an income from facility hire with events such as parties and weddings. Will this continue at Birchwood?

The facilities will be owned and managed by the School. It is not cost effective for us to concentrate on hiring our facilities for one off events. It is far more efficient for us to foster long term relationships with regular weekly hirers. The site will only be open until 9pm on weekdays and earlier at weekends.


When will the Football Club make a decision regarding their position?

We will know their position by the end of July.


Will there be advertising and hoarding?

Yes, but it will have to be appropriate for a school site. We have advertising boards around our current pitch.


Does the land have any restrictive covenants?

It must be used for educational purposes