A plan has been submitted to Durham County Council to build 79 new homes on the former site of Durham Johnston School. The plan would, however, mean the demolition of the ex-school buildings.
The buildings, on Whinney Hill, have been empty since the Durham Johnston School moved to new premises in 2009 and are now said to be in poor condition.
Persimmon Homes has put in an application to demolish the school and construct the 79 new homes in its place. Persimmon, which says it has been working with the council to develop a suitable plan for the site, claims there are problems with vegetation and water damage in some of the classrooms and that some of the buildings have been vandalised.
The company also says the existing buildings would not be suitable for conversion to residential use. Even the central administrative building could not be saved, according to Persimmon, despite the fact it is the most aesthetically pleasing structure on the site. Persimmon Homes claims it would need to be knocked down to ensure adequate road access and sufficient space for houses.
What was schooling like in the 50s? This is Durham Johnston School. pic.twitter.com/2VR3v0m5PM
— Beamish Learning (@BeamishLearning) February 19, 2015
The current plan is for a development including six four-bedroom houses and 53 three-bedroom houses. There would also be three blocks of flats, containing a total of 20 apartments.
19 of the planned houses would be terraced, 24 would be semi-detached and 12 detached. 15 of the homes would be classified as affordable. These would be two-bedroomed properties, 10 of which would be for rental with five to be sold.
A spokesperson for Persimmon Homes said, “This application proposes sustainable development, which will deliver significant public benefits, including, importantly, boosting the supply of housing, including both market and affordable homes.”
“There are no adverse impacts (with the scheme) which would significantly outweigh the benefits.”
The scheme would also include pedestrian and cycle routes as well as a one-way system for vehicles with access points on Whinney Hill.
However, some Durham locals already seem unconvinced by the proposed development, with fears that the new homes would be occupied by wealthy students rather than local people and claims the scheme would make traffic worse in the Whinney Hill area.