A MAJOR extension to a high school in Altrincham has been given the go ahead.

At a meeting of Trafford council’s planning committee, a three-storey classroom block, a sports hall, a new car park and a play area were approved at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic High School.

The classroom block will house 14 new classrooms, while the sports hall will include changing facilities. The car park will have space for bike storage.

A new hard surface play area will include a basketball court.

Conditions placed on the extension and associated work involve timing of building work to ensure minimal disruption to existing school facilities and wildlife nearby.

Work must begin on the site within three years of the decision to grant full planning permission made on Thursday August 13.

The co-ed Catholic high school sits on Urban Road in Altrincham and teaches children from 11 to 19.

It was rated outstanding by education watchdog Ofsted in its latest inspection back in 2013.

The council’s education department placed the planning application itself for the 7220 metres squared site back in May.

The build is being funded by Basic Needs funding allocated by the Department for Education to provide additional school places and has been commissioned directly by Trafford Council.

A planning statement said: “Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College has been oversubscribed for a number of years and although a number of classrooms have been added recently there is now a significant shortfall of accommodation.

“In order to maintain current pupil admission numbers the school have been teaching children in spaces which are not designated classrooms and therefore the existing building capacity is close to being exceeded.

“The school does not have a sports hall which forces students to travel off site to access indoor sports, which impacts on curriculum time.”

It is hoped the extension will solve these problems. According to planning documents, the land under the site is known to be ‘contaminated’.

Ground investigators found low concentrations of arsenic, lead and mercury just below the ground surface around an old bore hole on the site.

The council’s planning committee instructed remediation works to prevent this contamination from causing problems and removing it must be carried out before building work on the school’s new extension can commence.

There was also a flood risk identified for the site, due to a high water table under the ground’s surface under the school. Investigators said a slight rise in that water table would cause flooding of any basement area, so appropriate caution was urged.