Work approved to safeguard future of historic Grade II-listed school in Sunderland

Plans for renovation works to help safeguard the future of a Sunderland school and “landmark listed building” have been given the green light.

Earlier this year, Sunderland City Council submitted an application to its own planning department for Barnes Junior School off Mount Road.

This included a range of works to futureproof the Grade II-listed building, with changes proposed to both the exterior and interior.

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According to a submitted heritage statement, the renovation project aims to “correct any degradation and damage” linked to the school building and to “improve the comfort of the students and staff using it”.

Barnes Junior School, Sunderland. Picture by FRANK REID

The plans were recommended for approval by council planning officers at a meeting of Sunderland City Council’s Planning and Highways Committee on Thursday, September 22.

Proposed works included re-pointing, replacing damaged bricks, refurbishing historic timber sash windows and repainting and replacing plastic rainwater goods with “historically matching cast iron”.

Elsewhere, a number of windows that were previously replaced were proposed to be brought back to an “original sash style” to help improve the building’s appearance.

The plans also included removing internal mechanical and electrical equipment and replacing it with “new, efficient systems using the same pipework routes as existing [and] rationalising the wiring runs through the building”.

Barnes Junior School, Sunderland. Picture by FRANK REID

A report prepared by planning officers described Barnes Junior School and the adjacent Infant School as “one of the most complete surviving examples of Victorian/ Edwardian school buildings in Sunderland”.

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Council planners also stated the significance of the school site was linked to architectural interest as “one of the most impressive and well-preserved buildings of their type and period in the city and region.”

The planning report adds: “The works will repair, restore, improve, and secure the long-term conservation of an important landmark listed building in a sensitive manner and ensure its continued operational use as a school, and are considered to be acceptable.

“The proposals will have a positive impact on the conservation and significance of the listed building”.

After considering the report, councillors on the Planning and Highways Committee voted unanimously to approve the listed building consent application.

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Under planning conditions, work must take place on site within three years.