COUNCILLORS have backed plans to turn a former school building into flats.
The old Jesmond Road Primary School building, in Percy Street, Hartlepool, will be transformed into 38 flats in a project costing up to £3m.
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The Grade II listed building, which will keep its Victorian architectural design, has been empty since staff and pupils moved to nearby Jesmond Gardens Primary School last year.
Members of Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee voted unanimously to give the go-ahead to the residential plans. They were delighted the historic building will be put to good use.
The building will be converted into 37 one-bedroom flats and one two-bedroom flat.
Plans to transform the 110-year-old building into flats will see traditional features such as stairways, fireplaces, floors and plaques retained where possible.
A new central staircase will be added to allow access to flats on the top floor.
Two modern toilet blocks facing Percy Street and a small single-storey block facing Everett Street will be demolished. The existing playhouse will be converted into a secure refuse, recycling and bike store.
Car parking spaces will also be available on the site.
The plans were put to the council’s planning committee members by York-based developers Moor Galloway, which bought the building from Hartlepool Borough Council for £400,000. Andrew Whalley, a director at Moor Galloway, said: “We have been working for the past 18 months to get this far.
“I think it’s very good and the planners are happy with it.”
Chris Simmons, a Labour councillor for the Grange ward, said at the meeting: “I support this application.
“This building is historic and it has been part of my family history for a very long time.
“All my children attended this school.
“It’s important in the neighbourhood and to see the building restored and put back into use is excellent.”
Ray Wells, a Conservative councillor for the Park ward, said: “Looking at this I think the developers have done a very good job on a building which would have inevitably been knocked down.
“I think the developers should be congratulated.”
Edna Wright, Liberal Democrat councillor for the Hart ward said she also supports the scheme.
After members voted in favour of the plans, Labour councillor Rob Cook, committee chairman, said: “I’m really pleased that we are seeing a prestigious building being put back into use.”