Sunderland architect’s emotional attachment to school redevelopment plan

Architect Craig Fitzakerly at the Cleadon Infants School redevelopment site.
Architect Craig Fitzakerly at the Cleadon Infants School redevelopment site.
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A SUNDERLAND architect is hoping to go to the top of the class with his latest project.

Craig Fitzakerly, of Fitz Architects in Sunniside, is part of the redevelopment of the former Cleadon Infants School – where his three children were pupils.

He said: “There’s quite an emotional attachment to the building because of that link.

“I was a regular visitor to the school and vividly remember dropping my eldest son off for his first day.”

The plan submitted by the original site owner, was to create six apartments within the shell of the school, built in 1907, and two large detached houses in the school grounds.

But when Craig heard of the plans, he had other ideas: “We found out who was developing the site and suggested to them that creating two houses within the old school would be more sympathetic than six quite small apartments.

“We said that in this case, less was more, and that our plans would provide two lovely new contemporary homes with plenty of private space.

“Thankfully, they agreed with us and accepted our proposal.

“The developer was really happy with our ideas, they didn’t take much convincing.”

The divide between the two homes will be in what was the assembly hall and Craig wanted to make the most of the height, so the kitchen/dining areas and the living room of both of the new homes will be double-height.

The modern extensions to the old school building have been demolished.

However, other features, such as the Boys and Girls entrances, have been retained.

The homes within the old school building are expected to be finished in September, and the additional two large, five or seven-bedroomed detached houses in the school grounds, will be available for sale at a later date.

A new entrance road for the development will be off Sunderland Road.