Controversial plans to demolish and rebuild Portsmouth school to be decided

CONTROVERSIAL plans to demolish and rebuild a city school could be approved this week.

By Fiona Callingham
Friday, 6th September 2019, 7:28 pm
Updated Monday, 9th September 2019, 10:38 am

Proposals for the future of Mayfield School in Copnor are due to go to a planning committee meeting on Wednesday for debate following a public exhibition.

If approved the 1930s structure would be knocked down and replaced with a new ‘state-of-the-art’ part two and three-storey building.

Mike Stoneman, Portsmouth City Council’s deputy director of children and families, explained the need for the work.

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An artist's impression of how the new Mayfield School in Copnor could look. Picture from Novian Architects

He said: ‘The current school needs significant structural work to the roofs, guttering, windows and brickwork.

‘There are significant leaks through the building. Maintenance and running costs are high, creating a financial liability for the school. Also, the building does not meet access requirements for children with disabilities.

‘It would not be cost-effective to address these issues through a renovation programme. A complete new build is the only option.’

The school is now a mixed all-through school for children aged between four and 16 and it is believed the new build would be more suited for this system.

A new centre that focuses on Stem – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – subjects using creative methods of learning, known as the Steam Centre, will also be included in the new build.

However, 21 objections have been put forward from residents and there have been no letters of support.

Writing to the council Karen Kinney, of Hewett Road, said: ‘As a resident in Hewett Road for over 20 years we have noticed the increase in parking down our road to the last few years. With the proposed development of Mayfield School there is no provision for parking for the staff, so where are they supposed to park?’

Carol Dann, of Oriel Road, added: ‘I object most strongly to the destruction to the beautiful school . I cannot see how anyone would want to knock down this historic building for a plastic box like all the student flats down town.’

The costs of the build would be covered by the Department for Education.

If planning permission is granted work will begin in the grounds of the school in the autumn so that studies can continue uninterrupted.

The old building will not be knocked down until the new one is completed.