First look at new Archbishop Blanch High School

The first image has been revealed of the new £16 million Archbishop Blanch High School in Liverpool – set to be the centrepiece of the ongoing regeneration of Wavertree.

Consultation is underway on plans to move the school from its cramped buildings on Mount Vernon Road near the city centre to a new purpose-built site on Earle Road, off Smithdown Road in Picton.

The site has been earmarked because it is in close proximity to the existing school and has good transport links. It will educate 900 girls aged 11-16 and have a mixed sixth form.

Archbishop Blanch is one of at least 12 schools being rebuilt under the Mayor’s Investment Plan for Schools – devised as a rescue package following the scrapping of Wave Six of Liverpool’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project.

Mayor Joe Anderson said: “The new Archbishop Blanch High School is a really exciting scheme which will be a catalyst for strengthening the local community and supporting local businesses. It will make a huge difference to Picton and underpin the improvements that are being made.

“The pupils and staff desperately need a new building to replace their existing facilities, which are in need of major investment and updating.

“This is part of my vision to make sure all pupils are taught in top quality buildings and get the best education.”

The area is going through significant transition to bring forward high quality housing which will complement the new school.

Plans are in the pipeline for investment in new houses to the north of the site by developers Bellway, while new and/or refurbished properties will also be delivered through one of the council’s housing partners to the east of the site at Tunstall Road and Garrick Street.

Neighbouring Lodge Lane continues to benefit from commercial and residential investment interest and the area is also home to the modern Picton Medical and Children’s Centre on Earle Road.

The new complex will include on-site sports fields so the school can, for the first time, have its own pitches to deliver outdoor activities for pupils.

Headteacher Jane Griffiths said: “We are delighted at the pace with which this exciting scheme is coming together. The vision for the area where the school will be relocated is fantastic, and will allow us to build on the quality education for our students.

“We are all greatly excited by having the chance to plan a new building from the ground up, enabling us to create a brilliant, modern learning environment for our students.”

Subject to planning consent, construction work is expected to start in late 2014, with the school being completed in 2016.

A previous plan to move to a site on Jericho Lane in Otterspool was withdrawn following concerns over traffic.

The city council is committed to making sure that as much of the contract spend as possible goes to local firms to boost employment and training opportunities for local people. Hundreds of apprenticeships are also being created.