Sod-cutting ceremony marks the start of a new development for National Star

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Sod-cutting ceremony marks the start of a new development for National Star

This week a sod-cutting ceremony celebrated the start of a new development for specialist education provider, National Star.

Members of the project team, including students and staff from National Star and building contractor, Speller Metcalfe, came together to officially mark the major milestone for the college.

Located in Ullenwood, south of Cheltenham, the new £6 million state-of-the-art residential unit, which has been designed by coombes:everitt architects, will accommodate young people with particularly complex disabilities.

Procured through the Gloucestershire County Council Contractor Framework, the scheme has been designed by coombes:everitt architects and is being delivered by Speller Metcalfe – both who have worked with National Star on a series of other projects including the award-winning Bradbury Gardens accommodation in Pittville, Cheltenham.

Other companies involved in the project include Burnley Wilson Fish, SF Planning, MHP Design, David Smith Associates, APA Construction Consultancy and Nuttall Engineering.

“This new specialist accommodation will ensure National Star will be able to meet the needs of young people for years to come,” said Paul Styles, Chair of Trustees. “There is an incredible need for the services National Star provides and this development will ensure we can continue to support these young people in the future.”

Special adaptations have been incorporated into the design including overhead tracking hoists, sensory and breakout rooms, and large communal areas that aim to meet the complex needs of residents and ensure they have stimulating spaces to learn, relax and live.

The corridors will also be widened to allow for the easy movement of everyone in the building, including those who use large electric wheelchairs.

Mental wellbeing is also targeted in the design through the inclusion of external landscaped areas which promote an atmosphere of calm. These are just a few of the critical details included in the exciting and inclusive project.

CGI: coombes:everitt

The new building will have 13 bedrooms including an independence and assessment suite, and hopes to follow the success of previous projects, including Bradbury Gardens which was awarded the title of ‘Most Inclusive Building’ in 2015 at the West of England LABC Awards.

“We are delighted to begin work on our next development with National Star and the continuation of our relationship with the college, which has been ongoing for several years,” said Andy Metcalfe, director at Speller Metcalfe.

“Our bread and butter has been education since the beginning of Speller Metcalfe, and we feel passionate about providing state-of-the-art facilities for these young people who face extra challenges, but with the right support can grow to enjoy their own independence.”

Fundraising is a key part of National Star’s approach to ensuring they can continue to support people with disabilities achieve their goals. The charity still needs to raise £1.5 million for the project which is due to be completed in Summer 2023.

Find out more about the appeal on


Picture by Antony Thompson – Thousand Word Media, NO SALES, NO SYNDICATION. Contact for more information mob: 07775556610 web: email:


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