The final project in the £169m Liverpool school renewal programme has been approved by city planners, with St Julie’s Catholic High School in Speke Road to undergo a £20m redevelopment.
All buildings on the site currently occupied by the school will be demolished, to make way for 100,000 sq ft of new facilities across three interconnected blocks.
The rebuild has been controversial as in addition to the current school site, the redevelopment will extend onto a 27,000 sq ft strip of land on the field in front of St Julie’s, described in planning documents as “encroaching onto Woolton Woods in a near-wedge shape”.
The plot would equate to 5% of the 75-acre Camp Hill and Woolton Woods parkland area next to the school.
Initially the council planned to relocate St Julie’s to the former Lower Lee Special School on Beaconsfield Road in Woolton, but designs were shelved due to issues with highway safety. In June 2014 the existing site was once again examined, taking a proportion of the adjacent land.
As part of the development the council has agreed a deal with the school’s trustees to open up a three-acre area of private woodland behind the school, to compensate for the loss of land.
Campaign group Save Woolton Woods held a silent protest outside the school and outside Liverpool Town Hall yesterday to coincide with a meeting of the council’s planning committee.
The school was designed by IBI Group and will be built by Kier Construction.
The mayor’s pledge to deliver 14 new or revamped schools in the city in a £169m programme was the local authority’s response to the collapse of Building Schools for the Future in 2010.