Ambitious plans for Whitehaven’s new multi-million pound academy have been given the go-ahead.

At the council’s latest planning meeting all nine members voted to approve the phased demolition and rebuild of Whitehaven Academy.

The new build, set to open in 2021, will have the capacity for 900 students – from its current 540.

It will also offer a post 16 education, after entering into an agreement with Workington Academy to create a shared sixth form that will share resources and operate from both schools.

The approval will now be ratified by the Planning and Place Manager subject to no objection being received from Sport England.

The sports body currently has an objection lodged regarding the reduced size of the proposed new sports hall from its current size.

In response to the objection, Colin Edgar, from contractors Wates Construction, said that the sports provision is suitable for the current 500 pupils, plus an extra 400 that is anticipated.

He added that the sports hall, although smaller in size, is of a higher quality and will allow for a variety of sports provision including dance.

Talks are now ongoing between Sports England and the Department of Education towards a resolution.

Academy headteacher Nigel Youngman said: “This is such an exciting time for the academy and a huge opportunity to really show how we want to improve the teaching and learning environment for all our students.”

Cumbria Education Trust (CET), took over the running of the academy last year, and wants it to become the school of choice for the area and at the heart of the community.

The proposed three-story facility will include a single building and attached sports hall, with changes to the car park’s layout and landscaping.

The 6,720 sq metre build will include 21 classrooms, seven science labs, two art studios with views across to the Lakeland fells and three design and technology rooms.