Work on determining the future of key sites in Morpeth is set to take a big step forward in 2018.
The masterplan for the town will soon move to the next stage as Northumberland County Council reports back on progress made since the first consultation exercise in November.
The new Conservative administration started up the process not long after coming into office to help address issues that are facing Morpeth in the coming years.
The consultation in November saw hundreds of Morpeth residents express their views on the future of the town and the county council has been seeking to shape its policies for Morpeth in the time since.
It has now been confirmed that the local authority will hold its latest drop-in session at Morpeth Town Hall on February 9. Residents will be able to hear about the council’s proposals in the light of the feedback provided.
Speaking about the next steps, Coun Richard Wearmouth, the county councillor for Morpeth Kirkhill, said: “We were hugely encouraged by the consultation in November.
“In the time since, councillors from the town and county councils have been busy working with officers to develop proposals that respond to the feedback from residents.
“Some of these ideas have already been developed to become council policy. For example, people said they were concerned about the school places crisis in our town and so we acted without delay.
“Not only did we sanction the relocation of Morpeth First School (Goosehill to Loansdean), but we acted to immediately address the need for additional middle school places, which had seen some children going to school away from their home town.
“As a result, there will now be an extra 120 places in Chantry Middle School from September 2018.
“In other areas like parking, key sites such as the old library and leisure facilities we have ideas, but want to consult further with the public in February.
“This will allow us to take our proposals to the next stage confident that they reflect what residents would like to see emerge in the future.”
The process will also take into account studies by other organisations in Morpeth.
For example, a project facilitated by the Greater Morpeth Development Trust is looking at the potential for a new arts, culture and heritage centre in the town and funding for an initial feasibility study was provided by Morpeth Town Council, the Friends of Morpeth Museum and Queen’s Hall Arts in Hexham.