AN HISTORIC Portsmouth school will be demolished to make way for a new purpose-built place of learning, despite efforts to preserve its 'iconic' 1930s facade.
Plans to knock down Mayfield School in Copnor were approved by councillors today (Sep 11) after it was deemed 'financially unviable' to modernise the current building.
In its place a £22m school for children of nursery age through to year 11 will be built, including outdoor sports pitches and an innovative steam centre that focuses on science, technology, engineering, art and maths.
For Portsmouth City Council's education boss, Councillor Suzy Horton, it was a 'no-brainer.' Speaking at a planning committee meeting she said: 'I can't impress how much the steam facilities will put us on the map.
'Given what is on the table in terms of an educational opportunity it's a no-brainer, albeit with a bit of a nostalgic heavy heart.'
Cllr Lee Hunt added: 'It looks like a really exciting school. When I was at school we used to climb over the fence to get out, now they're going to be climbing over to get in.'
The funding will be provided by the government as part of a programme for schools most in need of replacing.
But council leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: 'I accept that a more modern school will help us boost educational attainment in the city.
'But I still find it deeply disappointing that it looks like a lack of imagination in terms of being able to restore things.
'This school has been a part of the community for 80 plus years.'
Cllr Claire Udy agreed. 'I feel like it's a cut and paste school design,' she said.
'I feel it could have been a better design if there was more money available.'
Former head boy at Mayfield, Ryan Taylor, who left this summer, was 'disappointed' by the decision. Speaking after the meeting he said: 'While the educational value of the new building cannot be understated, more effort by the government could and should have been made to preserve the current building.'
It is thought work will begin this autumn. The old building will not be knocked down until the new one is completed.