Ryhope homes plan may go to Government

LAND once occupied by one of Sunderland most famous schools could be home to a major new housing development within two years.

Bryant Homes has applied for permission to build flats and houses on the site of the former Ryhope Comprehensive School, on Stockton Road.

The company says it chose the site because of its location between the A19 and Sunderland city centre.

But the plans will have to approved by the Government before any building starts.

The old school was demolished earlier this year, after becoming a magnet for vandals and firestarters.

It was originally built as Ryhope Grammar School in 1911, becoming a comprehensive in 1969.

The school finally closed in 1988 after a colourful history, often courting controversy for its radical educational policies.

It then became home to the Ryhope Training Centre, but the building had been disused since the centre moved near Sunderland Enterprise Park, in Southwick, in 2000.

Now, Bryant Homes wants to build 87 flats and houses on the site.

There would be 32 flats in one block and 55 detached and semi-detached houses.

The company also wants to build a children's play area and create parking facilities for the neighbouring Ryhope C.A. Football Club.

Jan Dale, sales director for Bryant, said: "We chose this site because of its superb location.

"The old school is right between the A19 and Sunderland, so from a commuting point of view it's a superb opportunity."

The plans will go before councillors for the first time on Thursday, with a recommendation to defer any decision.

Planning officers say the application goes against Sunderland Council's local plan for the area, and that the site is earmarked for new education purposes.

Therefore, the application will have to go before Margaret Beckett, the Secretary of State for Environment.

Ms Dale said that if Bryant received planning permission the company hoped to be on site by January next year and the development would take about 18 months to complete.