Plans to rebuild Sunderland's Willow Fields Primary School at Maplewood School site set for approval

Proposals to rebuild and expand a city primary school could be given the go-ahead by planning bosses next week.

Sunderland City Council’s decision-making cabinet agreed a £6.9million programme in 2019 to boost capacity at three city schools.

This included extensions at Benedict Biscop and St Paul’s CE VC Primary Schools to create hundreds of extra places.

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Almost £5million will go towards rebuilding and expanding Willow Fields Primary School in the north area of Sunderland.

Willow Fields Primary School, Witherwack, Sunderland.

According to planning documents, the school is in a “poor condition” and doesn’t have enough places to meet demand from new housing developments.

Pupils would move to the former Maplewood School site, off Redcar Road, following demolition works in early 2019.

The new school buildings aim to boost capacity from 210 to 315 places with a new build planned for completion in 2021.

Sunderland City Council submitted a planning application in December 2019 for Willow Fields.

Proposals include a single storey building with a large hall, external play areas, tree planting and a multi use games area.

During consultation, city council highways officers requested traffic calming measures along Redcar Road and other neighbouring streets.

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Planned transport improvements at the site include double yellow lines, a triple speed cushion, school ‘keep clear’ markings and a raised zebra crossing.

Highways bosses have also requested that the school’s start and finish times are staggered with the nearby English Martyrs RC Primary School to prevent congestion.

Planning officers have recommended the plans for approval.

A report states: “The implications of the development relative to highways matters have been considered carefully by the council’s highways team.

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“Following the submission of additional information and subject to the recommended conditions, it is considered that the proposals are acceptable relative to highway and pedestrian safety.

“Subject to the conditions recommended throughout this report, the proposals are also considered to be acceptable in respect of ecology, flood risk and sustainable drainage, trees and ground conditions/land contamination.”

The final say on the plans rests with the council’s Area Development Control Sub-Committee.

Councillors will discuss the application at Sunderland Civic Centre on March 3 at 3.45pm. The public are welcome to attend.