Plans approved for new dining block and teaching space at Sunderland's Barnes Infant and Junior School

Plans for a new dining block and teaching spaces at a Sunderland school have been given the green light by city councillors.

Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 6:15 pm

Earlier this year, Sunderland City Council lodged an application with its own planning department for the site of the Grade II-listed Barnes Infant and Junior School buildings off Mount Road.

This included erecting a new building with dining and kitchen facilities, a mix of new teaching spaces and small group rooms and external teaching terraces on the first and second floors.

New ‘link bridges’ were also proposed to connect the new building to the existing school site, alongside associated external works.

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Barnes School, Sunderland. Picture by FRANK REID

The plans were presented for decision at a meeting of the council’s Planning and Highways (East) Committee on Monday, November 29.

According to council planning documents, the development site comprises the location of the recently demolished former dining/kitchen block within the wider Barnes School site.

The proposed replacement building was designed to meet the educational needs of both infant and junior school cohorts while also providing a facility that can be “utilised independently for school holiday provision and as a community use where required.”

Following a presentation from council planners, the scheme won unanimous backing from members of the Planning and Highways (East) Committee.

Barnes School.

Councillors approved full planning permission for the works and a separate application for listed building consent, given the listed status of the existing school buildings.

A report prepared for councillors added that the proposals, on balance, were acceptable and would have “positive public benefits.”

This included the provision of new dining and educational facilities and “improved accessible learning spaces to meet current and future demands on the schools.”

The report goes on to say: “The Local Planning Authority are of the view that there are substantial positive public benefits arising from the provision of the integral links to the schools and that this will outweigh the minor degree of harm to the significance of the listed school buildings in this instance.”

Barnes School, Sunderland

The existing school buildings are expected to remain operational during the construction period and once the replacement dining block is built, the connection links would be installed.

School roll numbers will also remain the same with no additional staff or visitor car parking required as a result of the development.

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