Proposed new Catterick Village school branded as “ugly”

An artist's impression of the proposed new school at Catterick Village.

Residents have slammed a revised Department for Education scheme to demolish a school in Catterick village and replace it with modern air-tight classrooms, describing the proposed building as a “monstrosity”.

Residents of streets surrounding Michael Syddall Church of England Primary School have lodged objections with North Yorkshire Council over the impact the proposed redevelopment would have on their quality of life and raised concerns over the safety of children while it is built.

The reaction comes almost three years after the Government announced the school would be among 50 nationally to receive funding in its Schools Rebuilding Programme.

The then Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, said: “The environment children are taught in makes such an enormous difference to their education.”

A previous scheme to replace the school, which was withdrawn after the developer went into administration, saw the majority of residents concerned about the negative impact to residential amenities due to the scale and proposed location of the school buildings near their homes.

Community leaders questioned the proposal to completely replace a brick-built primary school with “a much shorter life modular building”, and whether demolishing the existing building was the best rather than the cheapest option.

Documents lodged with the revised planning application underline how the school, near the northern tip of the village, is surrounded by homes to its east and west and by a mixture of residential and commercial buildings to the south, but add “there are no other suitable sites for the redevelopment”.

The papers state key changes to the scheme have been made in response to feedback raised over the previous application, including repositioning the school building parallel to Swale Lane and further from homes, retaining more trees and moving sports pitches to the west to reduce impacts on residential amenity.

Michael Syddall Primary School. Photo: Google.

The papers state the proposed building, which will be up to 9.2m high, will be about 20m from garden boundaries and sit centrally within the site,
screened by a proposed garden space and soft informal social space.

Grey with banks of blue cladding, inspired by the school logo and uniform, has been proposed for the building above window head level, to achieve “a timeless and durable design”.

However, in objections over the proposal, residents there would be “considerable safety concerns to children walking to school” due to construction traffic on narrow residential streets already congested at school drop off and pick up times.

Others have dubbed the proposal “an eyesore”, and said the design and height of the building were so unacceptable and overbearing they feared their property values would be affected.

One resident wrote: “It is twice the height of the original school, which brings no advantage to the proposed school, but will block light to my property.”

Another resident wrote: “I do not want to leave here after 54 years, but this monstrosity is making me think I will have to. I do not want to be overlooked by something as ugly as this.”