THE way has been cleared for a £6.6 million state-of-the-art sixth form building at St Monica’s High School in Prestwich.

An application submitted by the governors of the school, in Bury Old Road, received the go-ahead at the latest meeting of Bury’s planning control committee.

The green light was given despite objections from householders, relating to existing parking problems, increased noise from traffic, dirt on the road and the loss of views of Heaton Park.

Headteacher Frank McCarron told the planning meeting: “I am aware of the objections, but this is an opportunity to make a statement and to provide excellent facilities for the whole of the community.

“This excellent educational facility will offer vocational education second to none.”

Images of the state-of-the-art sixth form were unveiled in March. The complex will provide a range of learning opportunities, and the two-storey vocational centre will be partly solar powered and will operate as a gymnasium open to the public and a conference centre.

Mr McCarron said up to 30 per cent of school leavers in Bury who were Catholic do not go on to further education. He said the new St Monica’s facility would fill any gaps in vocational subjects.

The new building would provide students with the necessary skills to take out into the workplace after completion of their studies. Hospitality and catering, performing and production arts, sports and fitness, hair and beauty, media studies and IT, and business studies would be among the subjects available.

The building would also have a library, computer suite, digital editing rooms, a theatre performance area and sports facilities.

Mr McCarron, who praised the support of Bury Council and Bury Children’s Services, said: “The borough will benefit from a state-of-the-art applied learning environment.

“The sixth form will provide a small, personal education facility that will offer vocational education with 21st-century facilities and within the context of a supportive and caring environment.”

The headteacher said the architect had designed the building “not only to be visually stunning, but environmentally friendly, as it stands at the gateway to Bury”.