Plans submitted to create new teaching, dining and outdoor areas at Sunderland school

A Sunderland school could benefit from new and improved dining and teaching facilities under planning proposals from the city council.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 4:54 pm
The plans have been submitted for Barnes Infant and Junior Schools. Picture: Google

In recent weeks, Sunderland City Council lodged an application with its own planning department for the Grade II-listed Barnes Infant and Junior School buildings off Mount Road.

This included plans for a new building housing dining and kitchen facilities, a mix of teaching spaces and small group rooms and several external teaching terraces on the upper floors.

New ‘link bridges’ are also proposed to connect the new building to the existing schools, alongside associated external works.

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Barnes Infant and Junior Schools Picture: Google

The proposal could also see ‘vertical outdoor learning spaces to the first and second floor roof spaces to maximise the new building use and versatility’ due to it being a ‘highly constrained city site’ with limited outdoor areas.

According to council planning documents, the new dining block is expected to replace the existing unlisted dining hall which is due for demolition.

The proposals would also retain the existing school access and car parking facilities while providing a shared building with both indoor and outdoor flexible teaching spaces.

A design and access statement adds that the development would be used by both the infant and junior schools, which share the same site.

It reads: “The proposals for the new dining block and additional outdoor play areas will enable the demands of future growth to the local area to be satisfied, whilst offering accessible education facilities to both existing schools and additional flexible learning spaces to suit further curriculum activities not currently available.”

The plans for the new building on site were lodged by the council’s People Directorate and a final decision is expected by the end of October this year.

A planning and heritage supporting statement from the council states that the existing dining hall is “no longer considered fit for purpose” with proposals being designed to “maximise the site’s potential as an educational resource whilst respecting and enhancing the surrounding heritage assets.”

Designs include dining and kitchen facilities and group rooms on the ground floor, three flexible teaching spaces and an outdoor terrace on the first floor and an outdoor roof terrace with lift and stair access on the second floor.

The planning statement goes on to say: “Due to the site being a highly constrained city site, outdoor areas are limited and at a premium.

“The scheme has therefore taken the opportunity to incorporate additional accessible vertical outdoor learning spaces to the first and second floor roof spaces to maximise the new building use and versatility.”

If approved, the existing schools would remain operational during the construction period and once the replacement dining block is built, the connection links would be installed.

As pupil numbers would remain as existing, the council say there is no requirement for additional staff or visitor car parking.

In addition, the new space could be used independently for school holidayprovision and community use if necessary.

For more information on the application or to track its progress, visit online-applications.sunderland.gov.uk/online-applications and search planning reference: 21/01696/LP3

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