`

New school at Loansdean set to get green light

A section of the proposed site for the new Morpeth First School.
A section of the proposed site for the new Morpeth First School.

A new first school in Morpeth is recommended for approval next week.

The application for a two-storey school plus external play areas, a multi-use games area (MUGA) and parking for 78 vehicles on the former fire-station site at Loansdean goes before members of Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee for a decision on Tuesday (June 5).

It will replace the current Goosehill First School and the proposals include the provision of classrooms, including an outdoor one on the roof, and other facilities such as a main hall, studio, staff rooms, offices, kitchen and toilets.

The new school will also provide a community space at ground-floor level, accessible outside of school hours and available to the public for events.

In November last year, the council’s decision-making cabinet approved £6.85million​ of capital funding to deliver the scheme.

This followed the approval of a new school across the road on the County Hall site in March 2017, which was subsequently dropped when the Conservatives formed the new administration after last year’s election and abandoned the planned move of the council headquarters to Ashington.

The cabinet meeting heard that the scheme is planned to be completed by September 2019, as the revised proposal now places the previous design on the vacant fire-station site.

A report to councillors explained that the change of site and location ‘is unlikely to be regarded as a material change to the tender process. This will enable the preferred bidder to be re-engaged immediately saving many months of re-work’.

As at last November, the total 25-year maintenance backlog for Goosehill school, which is more than 100 years old, was around £1.7million, with the value of works needing to be carried out in the next five years estimated to be £420,000.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service