Plans for college building extension approved

New College in Durham City. Picture: Google.
New College in Durham City. Picture: Google.

Proposals to improve science and technology facilities at a Durham college have been given the green light by councillors.

Earlier this year, New College Durham, in Framwellgate Moor, lodged plans to boost its offer for students with a new three-storey extension.

When completed, the new facilities will be used for new STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) courses.

On November 13, Durham County Council’s central and east planning committee nodded through the plans.

This followed a decision to put the scheme on hold over concerns about the loss of parking and the 200 extra pupils expected.

A new travel plan,  provided to the council on request by the committee last month, concluded there was enough on-site parking to meet the demand.

Coun Amanda Hopgood, who represents the Framwellgate and Newton Hall division, welcomed the transport report.

Commenting on the application, she said: “This is really important to this location because of the implications of everything else that is happening around the site, the increase in business and the hospital in Aykley Heads and the impact it could have.

“Because New College is unique in the offer that it gives – in that people aren’t there all the time – the traffic issues are different every day.

“That’s why I have put in that its a working document and I would be really grateful if it could be looked at on a regular basis because the traffic does change.”

The expansion, at the rear of the building, will provide an extra 3,209 sq m space for workshop and teaching accommodation.

This includes carpentry and brick workshops, classrooms, specialist IT classrooms and a conference room.

The meeting heard that college bosses were planning to apply for government funding to support the development which would help boost the local economy.

Long-term plans also include using the facilities to help create an industrial workforce for the future, with partners including Nissan.

Coun Hopgood added: “I’m absolutely supportive of this, the area needs it, the county as a whole needs but we have to get it right so we’re not looking at it further down the line when there’s nothing we can do.”

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service