Plans to open new Benton special school at former Conservative club

The southern face of the Benton Conservative club Front Street, Benton
-Credit: (Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

Plans for a special needs school in Benton are set to be decided by North Tyneside councillors next week.

A scheme by Acorn Care and Education Ltd to convert the former Conservative Club on Front Street into a school will be refused or approved by the council’s planning committee next Tuesday. According to documents submitted to the local authority by the applicant, the listed ex-Conservative Club could be home to up to 60 students between 11-18 years old with 30 full-time staff.

Acorn Care and Education Ltd submitted: “The intention is that the school will help meet both the existing and future needs for specialist education in the area. This would reduce the number of children needing to travel ‘out of area’ to find an appropriate education environment and reduce overcrowding in existing settings.

“The proposals will, therefore, improve the learning outcomes of children in the area who require specialist education.”

The plans have generated 12 objections, with residents registering concerns ranging from the character of the conservation area to pedestrian and traffic access. However, council officers assessing the proposals have recommended the school for approval.

Highways officers, in a written report, believe the project “is acceptable in terms of highway impacts and parking provisions”.

Heritage organisations, the Northumberland and Newcastle Society have also supported the development in writing, claiming the conversation will not severely impact the listed building and will bring back a vacant space into use.

The council's decision will be made at its Cobalt HQ at 6pm, Tuesday June 4, alongside several other planning applications. Acorn Education operates over 30 similar schools across England.