School and leisure hub planned for County Hall

A radical shake-up is planned to move Morpeth schools and leisure services to the County Hall site.

And Ponteland’s schools, leisure centre and library would be rebuilt on a greenfield plot.

We believe that we can reduce costs, support town centre regeneration and redesign, and radically improve service access for residents at the same time.

Grant Davey, Leader of Northumberland County Council.

The massive rebuilding proposals have been announced by Northumberland County Council as part of a whole-scale review of assets that could generate £27million in income and cut its running costs by £3.4million.

If the plans go ahead, the council’s headquarters would move to Ashington and its Loansdean site would become an education and leisure campus, with potential for shared performance and arts space.

Morpeth’s King Edward VI School, Chantry and Newminster middle schools and one or more first schools could move to the campus, with their current sites sold for redevelopment.

Elsewhere in the town, the library, Beechfield House and The Willows sites in Gas House Lane could be used for a ‘landmark riverside development’, with library and council information services moving into the Chantry. It is not yet clear how the building would be reconfigured to accommodate them.

In Ponteland, new first, middle and high schools would be built alongside a new leisure centre, and eventually the library would join them, with existing sites sold for housing.

Options appraisals are scheduled and the proposals would be subject to the planning process.

Council Leader Grant Davey said: “The creative use of the council’s assets will play an important role in developing sustainable town centres that meet the needs and expectations of a growing local population.”

See Thursday’s Morpeth Herald for the full story.