COUNCILLORS are expected to give the green light to plans for a £8.2m village primary school.

Tomorrow Durham County Council's planning committee will consider its own application for planning permission to build a new primary school in Bowburn, to amalgamate the junior and infant schools.

The plan includes demolition of the existing 1970s-built Bowburn Junior School to make way for the new school for 540 four to 11-year-olds, with a 70 place nursery.

In a report which goes before members tomorrow, senior planning officer Chris Shields said the overriding objective is to improve the quality of educational accommodation for pupils of the Bowburn area, to address a shortfall in pupil places and to support modern methods of learning.

Across the county, the authority aims to amalgamate junior and infant schools where possible.

If approved, as is recommended, the brick building would have an L-shaped layout with the western wing dedicated to teaching space with classrooms on both the ground and first floors, nursery and infants on the ground floor and juniors on the first floor. The double height hall would be on the northern wing, connected to the teaching space by the eastern wing with the main entrance, offices, staff facilities, kitchen, library, plant room, stairs and lift.

Landscaping would make the best use of the school grounds, retain some existing sports facilities and provide new open spaces. Parking for 145 cars and five disabled bays will be created along with a new access road, a designated drop off point for parents and guardians, three pedestrian access points and cycle and scooter parking spaces.

Whilst ecologists found no priority or protected species within the site, broadleaved woodland, scrub and hedgerows will be lost so the council has agreed to invest £12,962 for offsite biodiversity projects.

Villagers have campaigned for years to get a replacement for the junior school which suffers from damp and flooding.