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Agenda item

DM/18/01980/FPA - Site of The Former St Peters School, Main Road, Gainford

48. no. dwellings, conversion of school building to 9no. flats & associated demolition and landscaping and provision of open space


The Committee considered a report of the Senior Planning Officer with regards to an application for 48 no. dwellings, conversion of a school building to 9 no. flats, associated demolition and landscaping, and provision of open space (for copy see file of minutes).


The Senior Planning Officer gave a detailed presentation of the application with site location plan, aerial photographs, elevations, site layout and photographs of the site.  He confirmed that Members would recall a previous visit to the site as part of a smaller application and confirmed that the application was an extension of that permission. 


The Agent, Mr Lyle, addressed Members on behalf the Applicant and advised that Members would already be familiar with the site and its history.  The scheme met all of the relevant technical criteria and would bring a range of 2, 3 and 4 bedroom housing as well as bungalows and flats in the former school building, meeting a wide range of housing needs for young and older generations.


Mr Lyle confirmed that a consultation had been carried out, which had included the delivery of 600 leaflets, followed by a meeting at the local village hall.  This had been mostly positive and had confirmed that almost all of the local residents who attended were in support of the scheme.  Its only criticism was that a few local people considered that the school building should be demolished, rather than retained.


Mr Lyle confirmed that Planning Officers had supported the proposal throughout the application process and the parish council supported the scheme as it coincided wither their desire to promote viability.


Finally Mr Lyle advised that this was a brownfield site, it was sited in a sustainable location and accessible to a good range of services and facilities, and the proposal would significantly improve the conservation area.  He referred to the significant Section 106 contributions outlined in the report and confirmed that he fully endorsed the conclusion of the Planning Officer.


The Chairman commented that the retention of the school building was paramount as it was a significant feature to the entrance to the village and it was only blighted by its current condition and was otherwise a beautiful building.


The Senior Planning Officer referred to the frontage building as a familiar feature which was well embedded, but an undesignated heritage asset of approximately 120 years.  Officers felt it was important to maintain as it was a mature and well-established entrance to the site.


Councillor Richardson confirmed that the site was in his electoral division and had been discussed for more than 30 years.  He commented that he would have been in favour of demolition of the building, however he was grateful to see it being developed and he moved the recommendation to approve as per the report, seconded by Councillor Atkinson.




That the application be APPROVED subject to the completion of a Section 106 agreement to secure 11 affordable dwellings; the provision and future maintenance of associated open space and £37,791 contribution towards offsite open space provision or maintenance; and the conditions outlined in the report.

Supporting documents:


Democratic Services
Durham County Council
County Hall
County Durham
03000 269 714