A multi-million pound project for central Middlesbrough has taken a major step forward as planning permission for the relocation of The Northern School of Art’s further education (post-16 years) campus has been approved by Middlesbrough Council.

The £14.5m scheme, funded by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority and Middlesbrough Council, will see the School’s college-level campus relocating from its existing Acklam base to a, purpose-built, state-of-the-art, three-storey building in the centre of Middlesbrough, designed by Seven Architecture.

It will create new teaching space for the north’s only specialist art and design college, which provides a range of arts, design, theatre and film courses and is recognised as a pre-eminent institution with an Outstanding Ofsted rating since 2009.

The creation of the planned new facilities for The Northern School of Art’s Middlesbrough campus is set against the backdrop of a vibrant creative sector in the UK, which has outperformed nationally all other sectors in employment and GVA growth since 1998.

Amongst a range of new facilities, the new building will contain specialist television and media studios, art and design workshops and high-quality teaching rooms with several features encouraging sustainability and energy efficiency.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This is a brilliant step forward for the relocation of the School’s college campus to central Middlesbrough. The School is hugely important to not just Middlesbrough, but Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool, and has a fantastic reputation as a national centre for skills training and excellence in the art, design and creative sectors.

“This new state-of-the-art campus will be a top-quality home for the next generation of local creative and innovative talent, providing our young people with local access to the skills and training they need for an exciting and rewarding career in the ever-growing creative industries.”

Dr Martin Raby, Principal at The Northern School of Art, said that the approval of planning permission is part of a major step forward by the School, which changed its name from Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD) in 2018 and which has a 140-year heritage of providing creative education in the region.

He continued: “We are delighted that the plans for the relocation of the School’s campus have been approved; we are now on track to have the new building ready to welcome existing and new students by Autumn 2021.

“As a School, we are an advocate for creativity in everything that we do – with training and qualifications from school-leaver to postgraduate.

“We are very grateful for the funding provided by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority and Middlesbrough Council which enable us to bring these valuable options for training and education right into the heart of Middlesbrough – supporting both the local economy and community of the Tees Valley as well as supporting the need for skilled graduates for the thriving creative industries.”

The School has been working closely with the Tees Valley Mayor, Combined Authority and Middlesbrough Council on the development of the project, which features in the Tees Valley Investment Plan that was agreed in January.

If plans are approved, the School’s new 5,200 sq. metre college level campus building will be located on the site of the former Denmark Street car park, opposite the BBC studios and adjacent to the town centre Sainsbury’s store.

The new location lends itself to providing an easily accessible base for students from across the Tees Valley who are attracted by the School’s specialist creative curriculum, as well as supporting greener transport options with easy access to the bus and railway stations.

The Northern School of Art’s Middlesbrough campus has a string of alumni with successful careers in the creative sector to its name.

Household name artists like Mackenzie Thorpe studied at the Green Lane campus, as did more recent graduates like photographers Boo George, who has worked for Vogue and Dolce & Gabbana, Jack Boothby who has worked for GoPro, Lonely Planet, Visit Britain and Conde Nast, sibling fashion designers and Lielle Womenswear co-founders Natalie and Danielle Futo and the eponymous handmade fashion label creator, Olivia Rose.

Dr Raby added: “The current Middlesbrough campus which offers outstanding provision is still very much in operation until the new site is ready.

“Our School, not only offers real, practical skills in a range of courses from design, fashion, clothing to art, television and film production, but we also have a wonderful track record of supporting students through improvements in their English and Maths qualifications.”

Simon Parker, Director at Seven Architecture commented: “Our specialist education design team has been engaging with users and wider stakeholders from the outset of this scheme to help realise their vision of creating an exceptional quality learning experience for students.

“We’re thrilled the new campus facility has been granted planning to turn this vision into reality. The sustainable scheme design not only creates a striking new addition to the town; however, it also aims to create a vibrant and inspiring space to be valued and thoroughly enjoyed by the wider community.”

Further information about the School’s plans and the wide range of creative courses it offers at both its FE and university level campus are available at https://northernart.ac.uk/