School site demolition starts

THE demolition of a village school started this week.

Work has begun on the clearance of James Calvert Spence College (JCSC) – Hadston Road – formerly Druridge Bay Middle School, which shut its doors for the last time in the summer.

Pupils from the school have been merged with students at Amble’s JCSC – South Avenue.

A spokeswoman for Northumberland County Council, which handed over the site to the contractor at the beginning of the week, said: “The overall process of demolition started this week, but this involves a ‘soft strip’ of the building in the first instance, followed by demolition itself.”

Coun Glen Sanderson, ward member for Chevington with Longhorsley, welcomed the news, saying that the demolition would stop the derelict building becoming a haunt for vandals and an eyesore on the community.

“It is very good news. It is important to get it done,” he said.

He added: “Throughout this country and county there are boarded-up, derelict school buildings. Northumberland County Council has been very accommodating and made sure that we haven’t been left in the same position as many other sites.

“The contract to do this is close to £300,000 which is a heck of a lot of money but it is better than being left with a boarded-up school which could become a playground for people who are looking for trouble and vandalism and be a terrible eyesore for the local community.”

Despite the school being demolished, Coun Sanderson said that he understands that the site’s playing fields will still be available for community use.

“As far as I am aware, the assurances given to me, that the playing fields will remain for the use of the people in perpetuity, still remain.

“That is what I have asked for, that is what I was assured, and that has not changed,” he said.

Coun Sanderson also said that he was keen for the community to have its say on what happens at the site once the school is demolished.

East Chevington Parish Council chairman, Coun Scott Dickinson, said it was sad to lose a ‘monumental building’ and thanked everyone who worked and served at the school.

He hopes the playing fields will remain for the community.