Rethink over Ponteland schools and leisure plans

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Northumberland County Council has withdrawn the outline application for a new school complex and leisure centre in Ponteland.

The Conservative group in charge at County Hall is carrying out a review of the plans that were submitted in December 2016.

It says it is committed to investing in such facilities, but it is looking at design changes in an attempt to address issues raised by residents. A detailed planning application will now be developed and brought forward ‘as soon as possible’.

Hundreds of residents raised concerns that the bid for a new leisure centre, library and primary and secondary school included building on green belt land.

They were also unhappy that Banks Property, which submitted an application for 400 properties on land west of Cheviot View, would be making a major financial contribution to the schools and leisure project if both schemes were given the go-ahead.

Outline approval for both was granted by the council’s strategic planning committee in March, but the Banks scheme could be called in by the Department for Communities and Local Government Secretary of State, Sajid Javid.

The four Ponteland county councillors asked officers to look at all possible options in detail that will not only provide new schools, but also provide for the long-term interests of the whole community.

Coun Wayne Daley, deputy leader and cabinet member for children’s services at the county council, said: “While we remain committed to the investment of £57million into local education and leisure in Ponteland, we have to be sure that this is going to deliver the best possible educational environment for pupils across Northumberland.

“We are working hard to ensure we address all of the of concerns raised by parents and residents in Ponteland to achieve the best possible educational outcome for the young people in the area.”