Demolition plans lodged for former Epinay School to make way for new specialist free school

Plans to demolish a former school in South Tyneside to make way for a new specialist free school have been submitted to council development chiefs.
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South Tyneside Council has made an application to its own planning department to bulldoze the former Epinay Business and Enterprise School off Clervaux Terrace in the Jarrow area.

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Buildings at the original Epinay site are now earmarked for demolition to pave the way for a new special free school managed by an academy trust.

Further details are awaited from the Government but it is understood that the school would cater for pupils aged four and 11 with additional needs, including social, emotional and mental health needs.

South Tyneside Council has previously said the 56-place primary school would allow more children with additional needs to receive education in South Tyneside, rather than travelling outside the borough.

The former Epinay Business and Enterprise School. Photo: Google Maps.The former Epinay Business and Enterprise School. Photo: Google Maps.
The former Epinay Business and Enterprise School. Photo: Google Maps.

Demolition plans for the old Epinay school site are a key part of making the free school scheme a reality.

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A council application form states demolition would cover the school, detached ‘life skills hub building’, and one prefabricated modular classroom.

In addition, the plans would include the removal of all access roads, footpaths, car park areas and playground areas.

The planning application adds: “The building is vacant and surplus to the council’s requirements and is in a poor state of disrepair with a high volume of asbestos material within the structure of the prefabricated clasp construction.

“The buildings are to be demolished to enable future development of the site”.

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Free schools are legally academies, which are state-funded educational institutions operated by academy trusts and not by local councils.

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Steps are being taken to find an academy trust to manage the free school, with the new school buildings also being subject to a separate planning application and permissions in future.

Councillor Adam Ellison, cabinet member for children, young people and families, previously welcomed the council’s successful application for the new free school.

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Speaking in March, 2023, he said: “There is significant demand for primary special school provision in South Tyneside, with higher than national levels of children needing support.

“Providing specialist education tailored to students’ unique needs is vital in ensuring that all of our children can learn, grow and achieve”.

Council planning documents state that, subject to approval, demolition of the old Epinay site would start in March, 2024 and conclude at the end of June, 2024.

For more information on the demolition proposals, visit South Tyneside Council’s planning portal website and search reference: ST/0036/24/DEM.