Community pledge for old school site

A FORMER school site could be transformed into a multi-purpose community facility.

East Chevington Parish Council Chairman Scott Dickinson has revealed that the old Druridge Bay Middle School site has been included in the Labour Party’s future capital works programme.

The plan is to consult residents about opening the centre, which could be used by local sports teams and clubs, providing changing rooms and training facilities for practical learning.

This pledge will be carried out if Labour takes control of the county council in elections later this year.

Coun Dickinson said: “It was a devastating blow the day the county council agreed to close and demolish our school, taking jobs and community benefits with it. I have fought to have this included in Labour’s plans and I am delighted that it has been.”

The final bell sounded at the Hadston Road school, which was then named James Calvert Spence College, in July 2011 and it was demolished soon afterwards.

A decline in student numbers meant the governing body of the Coquet Federation proposed to close the Hadston Road facility and merge pupils with the South Avenue site in Amble.

The move was agreed by the county council’s Executive in 2011.

Coun Dickinson believes the centre, at an estimated cost of £2million, would bring much needed benefits to the community.

He said: “Currently, Hadston organisations are temporarily housed at Hadston House. This new facility would allow them to move into purpose-built premises.

“It’s also suggested that the site can be utilised by young people’s clubs from Red Row Welfare during the winter as they currently have no location.

“While the building would be mainly used for sports, it is planned that it will also be able to house other groups which need larger spaces and training facilities for young and unemployed people.”

Coun Dickinson said it was too early to consult people about the issue, but the community will play a vital role in deciding what is built when the proposal has been firmed up.