Vocational wing planned for secure unit

The George Street gate to Lincolnshire Secure Unit will be the main access for only those attending the vocational training facility. EMN-150505-142254001
The George Street gate to Lincolnshire Secure Unit will be the main access for only those attending the vocational training facility. EMN-150505-142254001

There are plans to expand educational facilities at a secure unit for young offenders, based in Sleaford.

The Lincolnshire Secure Unit, in Rookery Avenue, was opened in 1997 by Lincolnshire County Council as a purpose-built facility providing care and education for up to 12 convicted young people aged 10-18.

The management team say they have identified the need to enhance the vocational educational opportunities that the unit can offer students who tend to prefer hands-on learning.

Dave Clarke, unit principal said: “It will offer specialist training in building and construction, motor mechanics, catering and hospitality, and hair and beauty, which will help the young people to progress and develop within their chosen careers.

“The facilities will also be accessible to children from other Lincolnshire schools including pupil referral units, who wish to benefit from vocational training.”

A new building has been designed with the council’s business partner, Mouchel. Practical teaching areas will also have classrooms, store rooms, a staff room, office and reception, together with a multi-gym and changing rooms.

The main secure unit is accessed off Rookery Avenue and was extended recently to provide classrooms and a sports hall. The new vocational block will be to the east on a vacant site formerly occupied by Kesteven House, a children’s home owned by the county council that was closed and demolished in 2008.

Externally, the designers say the new facility will incorporate an allotment garden, an outdoor construction skills training area and a flood-lit multi-use games area (lights limited to 9pm). The games area is located away from neighbours and designed to prevent light pollution. Mouchel state in its proposals: “Outside of normal school hours the multi-use games area will only be used by Secure Unit residents. There are only 12 residential spaces in the unit so the number of people using the area in the evenings or on the weekends is likely to be relatively small.”

Subject to obtaining planning permission from the county council, Mouchel envisage the new building will be to the southern side of the vacant site with a single storey flat roofed building for the motor vehicle workshop, construction skills area and classrooms. An L-shaped, pitched roofed, two storey building would wrap around it to accommodate the rest.

In their proposals, Mouchel says there is only one window looking towards the backs of houses on Grantham Road. They said the visual impact of the new building should be minimal, screened by planting.

Mr Clarke added: “The application includes parking spaces for eight cars, two minibuses and one disabled parking space. Lincolnshire County Council are applying for Department for Education funding for this development, and await the outcome of the DfE funding bid.”

The small car park will be accessed by the existing gate at the end of George Street and used only by the vocational unit staff and visitors.

The designers say access around the site and from outside the secure perimeter will be controlled using a number of fenced and gated ‘air lock’ lobbies.