School extension plans approved to create new facilities and resolve problems at site

Plans to boost facilities at a primary school in South Tyneside have been given the green light.

Earlier this year, a bid was lodged to build a new entrance and reception area at St Mary’s RC VA Primary School, off Ayr Drive in Jarrow.

According to documents submitted to South Tyneside Council planners, the revamp was prompted by several issues at the site.

This included the lack of a clear main entrance leading to confusion for visitors, a “convoluted layout” and an “inadequate waiting area.”

St Mary's RC VA Primary School and Nursery of Ayr Drive. Picture c/o Google Streetview

Other problems included underused vacant space in the west building, overcrowding in the east building and safety issues around a shared access for pedestrians and vehicles.

The plans aim to resolve these issues by effectively joining the 200-place primary school and 62-place nursery buildings together

The ‘joining’ extension will house a lobby, waiting area, reception office, sick room and circulation space.

From the outside, a pitched roof and cladding also aims to create a “distinct focal point” for the school.


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A Design and Access Statement, submitted to the council, notes the benefits of the plan.

It reads: “The scheme will give the school the presence it deserves on the site, assisting with way finding by making the entrance clear to all who visit the school.

“The new building will also ‘fill the void’ between the two existing buildings, creating a central staff ‘hub’ and creating a continuous, internal circulation route across the site.

“This simple solution will allow the school to re-purpose existing spaces, rationalising the internal spaces and free up new spaces for special educational needs, library and group rooms.


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“The internal reconfiguration will also allow new circulation routes to be inserted in both buildings, removing the need to pass through rooms to access different areas of the school and improving the fire safety for students, staff and visitors.”

Plans were given the green light by South Tyneside Council at a meeting last week.

Under planning conditions, work must start within the next three years.