A Southampton free school has revealed plans to build a new site in the heart of the city.

Hope Community School confirmed today they had submitted a planning application to construct a fully-equipped, high tech modern site that will cater for 420 children.

The project will be funded by the government's Education and Skills Funding Agency, who act on behalf of the Department for Education.

If approved, the building will offer an innovative outdoor space, including a large outdoor space on the roof where pupils can enjoy views of the city.

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The Department for Education were unable to specify the cost of the development, as the information is "commercially sensitive".

Steve Wright, principal of Hope Community School, said: "At the moment we are enjoying being in the temporary accommodation at Central Hall and we are very privileged to have the opportunity to move into the new building."

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The site would be located on Chapel Road, a stone's throw away from the current school site in Central Hall.

As well as classrooms, the building will feature a large sports hall, a community room and an arts room. There will be three play areas, with one of them being allocated to years ones.

The free school is aiming to have the work completed by December 2020 at the latest.

Paul Weston, chair of the New Generation School Trust, said: “We are really excited that a new facility for learning will be brought to the city. We look forward to welcoming not just the school families but the wider community into this space.”

Mary Rouse, the trust’s project director said: “We are delighted to have reached this milestone for the school and to be able to offer another educational choice to the local community.”

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Contractors have been working closely with the Trust to design a purpose built facility that will provide a safe and inspiring learning environment.

Hope Community School was the first mainstream free school to open in 2017 in Southampton city centre for children aged four to 11.

Free schools were introduced in 2010 by the government and "the programme has played an important part in creating thousands of new school places for children", according to the Department of Education.

They can be set up by charities, universities, businesses, education groups, teachers and parent groups.