AN architect is hoping to go to the top of the class with a development close to his heart.
Craig Fitzakerly, of Wearside-based Fitz Architects, is the architect behind the redevelopment of Cleadon Infants School – where his three children went to school.
He said: “There’s quite an emotional attachment to the building because of that link. I was a regular visitor to the school and vividly remember dropping my elder son off for his first day at school.”
The plan submitted by the original site owner was to create six apartments within the shell of the school, built in 1907, and two large detached houses in the school grounds.
When Fitzakerly, whose practice is in Sunniside, heard of the plans, he had other ideas: “We found out who was developing the site and suggested to them that creating two houses within the old school would be more sympathetic than six quite small apartments.
“We said that in this case, less was more, and that our plans would provide two lovely new contemporary homes with plenty of private space. Thankfully, they agreed with us and accepted our proposal. The developer was really happy with our ideas, they didn’t take much convincing.”
The divide between the two homes will be in what was the assembly hall. The modern extensions to the old school building have been demolished, but other features have been retained and enhanced.
Fitzakerly added: “The site was in a mess when we first moved on to it – thieves had taken the lead off the roof, most of the windows had been smashed, the wooden floor in the hall was ruined and there was water everywhere. it had to be stripped right back, but work is well on schedule now and we estimate the homes within the old school will be ready in September.”