York councillors are set to back calls for a new environmentally-friendly school to be built in the city.

Its planning committee is recommended to approve the Pathfinder Multi Academy Trust replacing Hempland School in Whitby Avenue.

The existing school was built in the 1960s, but plans submitted to City of York Council in August said it had passed “its functional life.”

ISG Construction, on behalf of the Department for Education, seek to demolish the existing 1 and 2-storey school on the 2.3ha site.


The replacement 2-storey building would be 2,198m2, some 1,212m2 less than the existing building.

Twelve more parking spaces would be provided and an existing 80-pace cycle park would remain.

A report prepared for the meeting on Thursday, said the proposed development was a “renewal and replacement of existing facilities.”

The capacity of the school would remain at 420 pupils and 50 staff.

York Press: The existing school

The report noted little or no opposition to the scheme.

The replacement building would be behind the current one, “with a much more condensed, simplified footprint. “

“The general internal layout of the building will see the teaching spaces and ancillary functions such as office space organised toward the outer edge of the building all accessed from a central corridor. Ground floor teaching spaces will all benefit from both internal and external points of access. The eastern end of the building will contain two double height halls and a kitchen space at ground floor,” the report said.

Retrofitting the existing 1960s building would cost more than a new-build and deliver worse performance, it explained.

A new school allows for more open space, and environmental features 238 solar panels (totalling 600m2) on the roof, with its remainder “planted out with a green roof.” Heating will be provided by air source heat pumps.

These and other environmental measures would help the school meet government rules demanding new-build schools be ‘net zero’, far exceeding city council targets.

If approved, construction would be in phases, the report continued, so the school can remain operation, with a timetable suggesting a near-immediate start.

Phase one of building the new school is estimated to take 52 weeks, which on completion will see staff and pupils transferred from the existing facility.

Phase two will see the demolition of the existing school, which is expected to take 27 weeks.

Phases 3 and 4 comprise of completing the car park and is scheduled to last two weeks being undertaken during the 2025 Summer Holidays.

Recommending approval, council planners imposed some conditions to help minimise impacts during construction.

But they noted the new school would benefit the school and local community by providing modern and up-to-date facilities, so it met a range of local and national planning policies.