PLANS to extend a free school for pupils who find it difficult in a mainstream environment have been approved.

The Heights school in Blackburn currently has three classrooms that do not provide adequate space to accommodate pupils, with static pillars in two classrooms that obstruct pupils’ views to the teachers’ display monitors.

And there is no outside play space or facilities for Key Stage 4 pupils.

According to proposals, existing spaces will be remodelled and two extensions will be built on the ground floor to create additional nurture space and introduce a food technology classroom.

Separate plans lodged for two multi-use games areas (MUGAs) have also been given the green light.

Bosses are looking to install a 3G pitch to be used predominantly for five-a-side football, with a tarmac MUGA for basketball, netball and hockey.

Case officer Nick Blackledge said: "Additional classroom space is proposed to accommodate an increase in student capacity.

"Traffic generation arising from increased drop off and pick up would be insignificant. "The application states that no increase in staffing numbers will result from the development.

"Regardless, existing parking is able to cater for any eventual increase, should the need arise, which would likely be very modest.

"Accordingly, highway safety / efficiency would not be adversely impacted

"The extensions are designed to integrate seamlessly with the existing building, by virtue of their in-fill nature and matching roof profiles.

"The proposal constitutes good design

"The MUGAs will be positioned circa 55 metres from the rear gardens of dwellings at Moorland Road, to the north.

"Such separation is considered adequate to ensure acceptable levels of amenity are maintained for householders of those properties, with particular regard to noise exposure.

"In this context, it is noted that the properties will benefit from a significantly greater separation from the MUGAs than properties at Bank Hey View do from the existing MUGA, which is positioned adjacent to their rear boundary.

"Moreover, householders at Bank Hey View will benefit from the proposal, as use of the existing MUGA will be reduced, due to the additional capacity being created.

"It should also be recognised that use will be limited to school hours only, to be controlled by application of a condition."