LEEK College has been given the green light to redevelop part of its site.
Work will include the demolition of mobile classrooms, the Carr Gymnasium, Millblock and an engineering workshop.
In their place a new pedestrian access from Stockwell Street will be formed, along with the construction of two new buildings and landscaping.
However, councillors supported officers’ recommendations that no demolition of the Carr Gymnasium take place until a scheme has been approved by the planning department detailing the steps to be taken to remove the plaster ceiling in the Sugden- designed building, along with the storage and relocation of it for public display.
Speaking at last week’s meeting of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s planning applications committee, college principal Len Tildsley said: “This plan will replace present accommodation at the Leek campus which has not been upgraded for years because of funding.
"Now we have the funding with the Derby University merger with Leek and Buxton.
"This will provide Leek campus with the accommodation it deserves.
“We have been mindful of its history. The relaunch will revive the Leek School of Art.
“The new educational facilities in Leek will stop people being lured away.”
The applicant’s agent, Andy Hunt, said when members of the the firm were struck by the Nicholson Institute building.
He said: “This plan replaces poor quality buildings. As architects we are governed by design.
“By removing all the dilapidated buildings a new access and new buildings will be formed.”
Representing Leek Town Council, Councillor Brian Johnson said: “The town council supports what the college is doing, but has concern that the ceiling should be preserved
“The Carr Gymnasium is a Sugden building and it is possible for some of the features to be used and utilised in other areas. We also feel that a crossing should be sited near the college entrance.”
Councillor John Fisher said: “I support the demolition of the Carr Gymnasium, but the ceiling and plaque must be saved. These are priceless artefacts. They must be stored, but efforts must be made to find a home.”
Councillor Linda Malyon said: “This is a wonderful application. It will offer boundless opportunities to young people.”
Councillor Stephen Ellis said the work would add to the multi-million pounds worth of investment taking place in Leek.
He said: “There is a lot of support for a new entrance as it is opening up space. This is excellent news for Leek.”
The committee voted unanimously to approve the application with the condition the ceiling and plaque were saved.