Sheffield academy set to open permanently after long-running planning battle

Inside Chapeltown Academy's new lecture theatre.
Inside Chapeltown Academy's new lecture theatre.
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A Sheffield sixth form is set to open in a new multi-million pound permanent base for the first time after a long-running planning battle.

Chapeltown Academy has operated out of two temporary buildings since 2014 and was open under one year’s development rights - but proposals to formalise the scheme and make it permanent were turned down by Sheffield Council last year.

The authority’s planning department rejected the application amid concerns that its location away from housing on Hydra Business Park was unsuitable and could also pose road safety problems with excess traffic.

But academy bosses successfully argued that there had been no road safety issues since the college opened in its temporary guise and the decision was overturned by High Court appeal judges in August last year.

The academy is now opening its doors for the first time as a permanent college after a multi-million pound project to convert a former industrial unit was completed.

Ali Jaffer, interim head teacher, said “upwards of £2 million” has been spent on the upgrade to build a range of new facilities.

He added: “It has been a long hard slog to get here. But, as you can see, it is going to be very much worth it. We are all looking forward to opening our new permanent base.”

Members of the public can see the finished building in Nether Lane at a special open day on Monday, August 15, from 5pm to 7pm.

The site boasts an astro-turf outdoor sports pitch, a library, a lecture theatre, an indoor sports hall, a conference-ready dining room, state-of-the-art science laboratories and a range of spacious classrooms.

It is housed over one floor in a former distribution centre. In its first year the academy had been based in a smaller unit adjacent to the new permanent base, and was last year operating from Thorncliffe Business Park while building work was being completed.

The free school was set up to provide academic education to 16-19 year-olds who want to go on to university.

The academy’s first cohort of students are due to get their A-Level results later this month.

An academy spokesperson said: “Several of them hold conditional offers from excellent local universities like Leeds and Sheffield, as well as ones further south including King’s College London, Exeter and Cardiff. Additionally, two students hold offers from Oxford and Cambridge and this is a fantastic achievement for them, and for the academy, which is still in its infancy.”

There are still places available for students to join in September. For enquiries email contact@chapeltownacademy.com