Recommendation to approve Pont schools and leisure scheme

An artist impression of the proposed new Ponteland schools and leisure complex.
An artist impression of the proposed new Ponteland schools and leisure complex.

Councillors have been asked to give plans for new schools and leisure facilities in Ponteland the green light at a meeting tomorrow evening (Thursday).

The application by Northumberland County Council involves demolishing the existing leisure centre to the north of the site and building a complex incorporating a new leisure centre, secondary school and primary school.

It will also include new sporting facilities to replace those lost to new buildings, car-parking, access works and landscaping.

This ties in with the change to a two-tier system for most of Ponteland’s schools, which came into effect in September.

If members of the strategic planning committee agree with the approval recommendation from planning officers, it will be referred to the National Planning Casework Unit for determination from the Secretary of State on whether he wants to call-in the application.

Ponteland resident Jaqueline Buffham’s objection includes the following: ‘To build such an extensive project on an existing flood plain is not sensible and could have knock-on effects on nearby shops and residential areas’.

John Blundell says in his objection: ‘The proposal attempts to pre-empt the council’s own on-going revised core strategy by unsanctioned green belt deletion and it is in contradiction to the Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan’.

The planning officers’ report states: ‘An intensification of development on the existing leisure centre site would inevitably result, however when considered in combination with the adjacent high school site it is considered that the net effect on openness of the green belt would be neutral.’

There have also been letters of support, including from Philip Southern, who said: ‘The combination of primary and secondary schools with a state-of-the-art leisure centre provides exceptional facilities for the whole community’.

The strategic planning committee meeting tomorrow will take place at County Hall in Morpeth from 6pm.