Parents want first school to stay put

A group of parents and pupils at the protest over plans to move Darras Hall First School to a new 'super campus' in Ponteland.
A group of parents and pupils at the protest over plans to move Darras Hall First School to a new 'super campus' in Ponteland.

Parents at a Ponteland school came together to protest against plans to integrate it into a new ‘super campus’.

As part of its future vision for the area, Northumberland County Council’s administration wants to provide new buildings for Ponteland High School, Ponteland Middle School and Darras Hall First School on a shared site.

Along with public leisure facilities, they would be situated on land to the east of the existing Pont High and Middle schools – close to Cheviot View and near the roundabout which includes a turn off to the Dobbies garden centre.

This site is two miles from the first school’s current location at the heart of the estate in Broadway.

A parents action group has been formed and its members want the county council to refurbish or rebuild the school within its grounds, along with sensible improvements to access and parking. Its first public protest was held outside the school on Wednesday afternoon.

Members claim the new site would be too far away for the majority of pupils to walk to and they are concerned about the potential for major traffic congestion at peak morning and afternoon times.

Parent and Darras Hall resident Gavin Warrender said: “We are outraged by the council’s proposal and we are urging everyone as individuals to complain officially by email (PlanningStrategy@northumberland.gov.uk) or post to the planning and housing policy team at County Hall by the November 25 deadline.

“Many of us feel so strongly that we want to have our voices heard together as a group, so we are campaigning fiercely to raise awareness of the proposal and the need to complain.”

“We have a community petition under way and we are also using social media to help spread the word.”