Expansion plans for Hartlepool school

Hart Primary School in Hart Village, on the outskirts of Hartlepool.
Hart Primary School in Hart Village, on the outskirts of Hartlepool.
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A village primary school is set to expand to take in new pupils.

Hart Primary School has been granted planning permission to build a single-storey classroom extension to create an additional 21 pupil places from Hartlepool Borough Council.

A small number of village residents objected to the extension due to concerns for children and parents’ safety on already busy roads.

But councillors said they had to provide enough places to educate the children.

Dorothy Johnson, a resident of Hart for 43 years, said she has seen the village change from its largely agricultural character to a commuter village over the years.

She told the council’s planning committee: “I’m concerned for the safety of the children and parents and feel full consideration plainly hasn’t been given to the safety.”

Mrs Johnson added the roads around the school are narrow and busy at peak times and Magdalene Drive, where the school is, is used by parents and staff to park limiting visibility.

“I find it very hard to understand how the highways department can say an additional 20 cars can have minimal impact,” she said.

“This is already overcrowded and very restricted space.”

But councillor Marjorie James said the extension was a consequence of a decision a number of years ago not to close Hart or St Peter’s Primary School at Elwick, and not to have a school on the Bishop Cuthbert estate.

“The children in those localities have to go somewhere therefore Hart is now being extended to accommodate some of those primary school children,” said Coun James.

Coun James added if they did not allow Hart to be extended more parents would find themselves in a similar situation as many did this summer who were not offered places in their first, second or some cases, third choice of school for their children.

Coun Jim Ainslie added: “We do have a problem in the north of the town. These children have got to be educated and I think the opportunity to extend Hart Primary School gives these children the ideal opportunity to be educated before they go to secondary school.”

The new classroom will be built to the south west of the school overlooking the school yard.

Council officers said they did not believe the classroom extension would have any significant impact on neighbouring properties from overshadowing or loss of privacy and recommended the plans for approval.

The authority’s highways section has indicated it is currently looking at providing parking restrictions on the approach to the school.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the development.