Plans for unique steel sculpture paying tribute to a former Washington school approved by Sunderland councillors

Plans for a unique steel sculpture paying tribute to a former school in Washington have been given the green light.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 5:56 pm
‘Washington Old School’ Picture: Google

This week (June 8), Sunderland City Council’s Planning and Highways (West) Committee were asked to approve plans for public artwork at a planned bungalow development off Albert Place.

Built in circa 1893, the site was originally known as Biddick School before being renamed and later closing in the 1990s.

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The plan for the statue has been approved by Sunderland City Council.

Planners confirmed that the site was last occupied by the ‘Washington Church of Christ’ but is now understood to be vacant.

Although the old school is classed as a non-designated heritage asset, the council states that its “age and character make it notable within the context".

The life-size sculpture is planned for a front garden plot at the bungalow development, opposite the old school, depicting a ‘young pupil from the 1900s holding an umbrella waiting for the school bell to ring.’

In addition, the artwork will include a ‘replica of an original railway sign from the area.’

According to a report prepared for councillors this week, the sculpture is intended to “provide a high-quality piece of artwork to enhance the aesthetics of the new development.”

During consultation on the plans, Washington Central councillor Dianne Snowdon welcomed the development and said she was happy to support the application.

However one neighbour shared a different view and objected to the artwork, leaving a comment on the council’s online planning portal.

The objector said the artwork “would add nothing to the development apart from drawing what will be unwarranted and unnecessary attention to this street.”

The land upon which the artwork would sit is owned by Sunderland City Council, with the planning application made by the city council’s neighbourhood directorate.

Following discussion, the council’s Planning and Highways (West) Committee approved the application.

The bungalow development at Albert Place is being led by the city council and includes four fully adapted dwellings for people with physical disabilities.

Designed by JDDK, the homes will make use of technology to enable residents to live independently and are set for completion this year.

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