Decision day for multi-million pound Sunderland school demolition and rebuild

A multi-million pound project to rebuild a Sunderland primary school could take a major step towards becoming a reality next week.

Friday, 4th June 2021, 6:27 pm
3D presentation images of proposed new Hetton Primary School Credit: Sunderland City Council
3D presentation images of proposed new Hetton Primary School Credit: Sunderland City Council

Sunderland City Council’s plans for a brand-new Hetton Primary School look set to be approved by the local authority’s area planning committee on Tuesday, June 8.

The city council’s proposals involve demolishing the school’s ageing premises on Moorsley Road to make way for a new facility offering both primary and nursery provision.

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3D images of proposal: Credit: Sunderland City Council

As well as landscaping works, the site would allow for drop off-pickup bays, a one-way system for traffic, areas for informal play and a ‘forest school.’

Meanwhile, ‘shallow wetlands’ proposed as part of the drainage strategy also aim to provide both ecological benefits and potential teaching uses.

Around £5 million of capital investment has already been agreed for the proposed school building, with a formal planning application validated by the council’s planning department in February, 2021.

A planning report prepared for councillors next week states that the existing Hetton Primary School is “lacking in the specialist teaching provision which newer primary schools can offer.”

3D presentation images of proposed new Hetton Primary School Credit: Sunderland City Council

It also outlines that the “current lack of nursery provision at the school is preventing the transition from early years to primary education within the same setting.”

The report adds that the school would help to meet future demand for education facilities in the Hetton area as new housing developments come forward.

Council planning officers have recommended the planning application for approval and say the scheme is acceptable in terms of land use and highway and pedestrian safety.

However, the final say rests with the Planning and Highways (West) Committee which will discuss all representations on the application at Sunderland Civic Centre next week.

If plans are approved, the rebuild would boost Hetton Primary School’s pupil numbers by almost 100 and would allow the school to offer education for children aged 2-11.

In addition, the proposed new nursery provision would provide 16 places for two-year-olds and 39 places for pupils aged 3-4.

The planning application was submitted by the city council’s capital projects team and the application site is also owned by the council.

According to planning documents, the new school is planned for the north west corner of the school site on the existing grass playing areas to “enable the existing school to remain operational during the construction period.”

A planning report adds: “Whilst the nursery is integral to the overall design of the school, it can operate independently with its own front door, secure outdoor and indoor play facilities, toilet and changing areas and more.”

Nicola Hill, headteacher at Hetton Primary School, previously told that she believes the new building will have a transformational impact on the area.

“It was actually really overwhelming, hearing that we would have that level of investment poured into our school,” said Mrs Hill.

“Our teachers do a really good job. The school has such strong links to the local community and to parents too. And our children are just amazing. They totally deserve this.”

The meeting to decide the application starts at 5.30pm in the council chamber and for more information, visit: www.sunderland.gov.uk.

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