Homes for disabled people to be built on disused Sunderland school site

Former St. Hilda's RC Primary School, Southwick, Sunderland.

Former St. Hilda's RC Primary School, Southwick, Sunderland.

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A DISUSED school is to be demolished to make way for new homes for people with disabilities.

St Hilda’s RC Primary School, in The Kings Road, Southwick, closed a decade ago and has sat unused, despite consent for it to be demolished.

Now a firm specialising in “supported living” plans to bulldoze the buildings to build apartments for people with learning and physical disabilities, including residents with brain injuries.

A planning committee at Sunderland City Council this week approved the plans.

A planning officer’s report said: “The development will provide high-quality, specialised apartments for vulnerable adults, to enable them to lead as normal and independent life as possible.

“Each apartment will be fully self-contained and fitted with a living area, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.”

The development will create 24 apartments in four blocks, with staff staying on site to provide support for residents if needed.

St Hilda’s closed in 2004 after 101 years, alongside four other primary schools and a nursery, due to falling pupils numbers,

Planners say the remaining school buildings from the late-Victorian and early-Edwardian period are in a “redundant and decaying state”. The County Archeologist has asked for a photographic record to be taken of the buildings before demolition, which would be stored in the area’s archives.

Further archeological work may also need to be undertaken as the school lies on the edge of Southwick medieval village, dating back to 1072.