St Anthony’s Girl’s Catholic Academy has been given the go-ahead to begin big redevelopment despite fears of traffic build-up.
The redevelopment plans come after the school was awarded funding through the government’s Priority Schools Building Programme, which aims to help schools in urgent need of repair.
The work was given the approval at a meeting of the council’s South Sunderland Development Control Sub-Committe on Tuesday.
However, some councillors echoed the concerns of residents of Thornhill which are that the work would cause congestion on Thornholme Road.
They were worried that deliveries to and from the site, along with a security barrier at the entrance to the staff car park, would cause queuing at peak times.
But developers Kier North East promised the council that deliveries and dispatches to the site would be coordinated to prevent disruption.
They also said that Thornholme Road would not act as the main entrance for pupils and that the security gate will remain open, while school staff arrive at the start of the school day.
Head teacher of St Anthony’s Mrs Monica Shepherd said: “The whole community at St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy are absolutely delighted to announce the next stage of the phased redevelopment of the school site.
“This will ensure further top class facilities for our top class staff and students.
“The historic buildings within the site will be sympathetically refurbished and new sports facilities, and teaching accommodation, will be provided, working with Kier construction and the Education Funding Agency , acting on behalf of the Secretary Of State.’
Millfield ward’s councillor Iain Kay said that the redevelopment was “a wonderful proposal”.
But he added: “The security barrier is bound to cause queueing on Thornholme Road.”
A video shown to the meeting on behalf of Kier North East construction said: “We will be coordinating with the school on a daily and weekly basis to ensure minimum disruption.”
The work will involve demolishing a number of the school’s current buildings to make room for new classrooms, a chapel, a sports hall, a dance studio and changing rooms.
The Edwardian Somerleyton House will also be partly demolished and refurbished.