‘MUCH-NEEDED’ extension plans for a girls’ school have been approved.

Bournemouth School for Girls submitted an application at the end of February to build a new workshop, fitness suite, classroom and dance studio.

And the proposals, which received more than 400 letters of support, have now been backed by BCP Council which said any harm caused by the expansion would be “outweighed” by the benefits to the school.

The new two-storey extension will replace a temporary classroom at the school and increase the number of students it can take by 80 to 1,214.

A statement submitted with the application said the extension would allow it to meet the plans of the council and government to increase its capacity.

“This application will provide the school with much-needed improvements to the design and technology and PE facilities on the site,” it said.

“This will bring improvements to both the learning environment and the physical health of the pupils through the improved standard of the facilities available for sport and exercise.”

Concern had been raised about the loss of trees to make way for the larger building but 414 people wrote to BCP Council in support of the proposals.

Among them was former student Anita Kaur-Simon who said she was surprised that the school’s sports facilities had not been improved since she left quarter of a century ago.

“I attended Bournemouth School for Girls as a child and I was shocked on a recent reunion visit that the PE department had not changed at all,” she said.

“It looked very tired and exactly the same as 25 years ago.

“It needs desperate remodernisation in order to give the hard-working girls of the grammar school some much-needed decent physical education facilities.”

The application was approved by the council on Friday.

A report by a planning officer said the loss of trees would result in short-term “harm” but welcomed proposed replacement planting.

“This harm needs to be weighed against the need for additional school places and improved facilities at this school,” it says.

“It is considered that this outweighs the more limited harm caused by the tree loss subject to suitable planning conditions.”

Headteacher Alistair Brien said he was "delighted" at the decision to permit the extension.

"These  much- needed improvements to our facilities which  will enable us to  offer the very best education we can to  our  young people.

"I was particularly  pleased that  we had over 400  letters of  support for our plans."

Funding for the project was approved by Bournemouth council before its abolition at the end of March as part of a series of grants to increase school capacity.