Sixth-form plan is a ‘traffic timebomb’

PLANNING BATTLE ... Whitburn Church of England Academy principal Alan Hardie.
PLANNING BATTLE ... Whitburn Church of England Academy principal Alan Hardie.

PLANS to create a new £1.9m sixth form at a South Tyneside school face opposition from its neighbours, it has emerged.

Whitburn Church of England Academy, in Rackley Way, Whitburn, was awarded the cash by the Education Funding Agency earlier this year to create the two-storey extension, which will serve up to 280 pupils.

But some residents – in nearby Ash Grove, Markham Avenue, Nicholas Avenue and Oak Avenue – will raise objections when the application goes before South Tyneside Council’s Planning Committee later this month.

Opposition centres on the number of extra pupils the development will create “without regard to the impact on local residents” and the potential increase in “traffic chaos and gridlock” at school’s drop-off and pick-up points.

When members of the committee meet on Monday, July 28, they will be recommended to grant the application.

Whitburn Academy principal, Alan Hardie, believes the project will “deliver the outstanding post-16 education that our pupils deserve”.

A report to the committee says: “In response to the concerns regarding additional traffic envisaged as a result of the proposed development, the applicants have stated that they have already begun to naturally stagger the end of the school day by making provision for Year 11 pupils to have an additional lesson period at the end of the day and having a wider offer of extra-curricular activities on site.

“The school proposes to offer the same provision to sixth gform pupils.

“While the sixth form may result in additional traffic congestion and parking issues, the school has undertaken to implement measures that it is considered would mitigate any increases.”

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