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Epping St John's officially opened by Bishop of Chelmsford
Buy this photo » St John's pupils outside their new school
The £23million redevelopment of a secondary school has been officially opened.
Following years of planning and public opposition to the plans, new eco-freindly buildings and facilities are now in use at St John’s Church of England School in Bury lane, Epping.
The Bishop of Chelmsford today unveiled a memorial plaque and planted a tree in the grounds to mark the occasion.
The new modern, open-plan facilities offer more study space and can accommodate 100 more pupils than the 800 currently taught on the site.
There are also plans to build a sixth-form block.
Speaking during the event, headteacher George Yerosimou said: “This is a small school but a very big story.
"We do not feel it is completed, there are still a few chapters yet to be written.”
A plan to build 149 homes on the site of the school’s old buildings, which are still to be demolished, has proved controversial.
Public opposition centred on fears over traffic congestion and the development of green belt land.
A public inquiry eventually found in the school’s favour and the new buildings have been specifically designed to compliment the rural surroundings.
Glass and wood were used heavily in the school’s design, which features a grass-covered roof.
Chairman of governors, Mike Rigelsford said: “We have now a building we can all be proud of. I hope now we can further enhance the reputation of Epping St John’s.”
Bishop of Chelmsford, The Right Reverend Bishop Stephen Cottrell, said: “Parents today are looking for schools where there is a strong ethos.
“This is a school built upon very strong foundations.”
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