Ashe Group and Hertfordshire County Council to deliver £30m of eco schools


Ashe Group has been awarded two contracts totalling nearly £30m to deliver net zero schools for Hertfordshire County Council.

Work has already started at The Valley School in Stevenage to create a £15.8m school for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The new school replaces old, existing buildings originally designed for mainstream teaching and will provide purpose-built accommodation that will meet the needs of secondary aged children with learning difficulties.

The school is planning to generate its own power and be ‘net zero in operation’ using air source heating, photovoltaics and will be gas free, relying on electricity. The project aims to increase the local biodiversity by around 20% with bird and bat boxes, and green roofs included in the scheme.

The building is expected to be handed over in October 2023 and is part of Hertfordshire County Council’s planned investment to meet the future needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities, which equates to more than £50m over the next three years.

In Bishops Stortford, Ashe has also started work on new facilities for Avanti Brook Primary School in a £12.6m contract.

The school will offer two forms of entry with capacity for 420 primary spaces and include an integrated special resource provision (SRP) for 12 children who have special educational needs and or disabilities.

Constructed using SIPS panels, the school will also be net zero in operation and generate its own power aided by photovoltaic panels.

With several hundred new homes in the area, Avanti Brook will open its doors to its first nursery and reception children from Autumn 2023 to meet demand from the local community.

Bob Deering, executive member for resources and performance at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “We are committed to embedding sustainability in everything we do. Our contracts with Ashe are helping us to deliver sustainable growth for local communities. We want to lead the way in terms of sustainable development; building schools which are zero net carbon in operation is helping us to meet our commitment of being a carbon neutral organisation by 2030.”

Ashe managing director, Ian Robbins, said: “As part of our commitment to adding social value to our projects, we will work with local sub-contractors and use local labour where possible to deliver these sustainable schools.

“It will give us great pleasure, as a Hertfordshire business, to see our community benefit from what will be high quality specialist facilities in which our children can thrive and learn.”

Both projects were procured through the Pagabo suite of frameworks.