The multi-million pound scheme to provide state of the art new schools and leisure facilities in Ponteland will be implemented as soon as possible, and this was endorsed by Northumberland County Council’s new cabinet this week.
The council had already announced that an initial outline planning application has been withdrawn, and that this would be quickly replaced by a detailed application for a new high and primary school along with new leisure centre.
Development is set to take place on the site of the current leisure centre and the detailed planning application will include designs that address feedback from the local community on the outline application.
Reorganisation is underway for the Ponteland partnership of schools and phased implementation of this begins this September, when the first schools will become primaries and Richard Coates CE School will lower its age range to include the primary phase.
Ponteland High School will extend its age range to 11 to 18 from September 2019 and receive its first cohort of year 7 and 8 students in September 2019.
The submission of a full planning proposal for the high school at this stage will allow the construction and completion of the new school buildings to take place along the shortest possible timeline, and ensure that any requirement to provide temporary accommodation from September 2019 is kept to a minimum.
Councillor Wayne Daley, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, and cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We want to be very clear that this scheme is going ahead.
“We considered issues raised by the local community, reviewed the previous plans and looked at options. We are now clear that moving straight to a full planning application will allow us not only provide fantastic new schools and the best possible educational outcomes for young people, but also be in the best long-term interests of the whole community
“We can understand that people may be confused about the planning position, but this move to submit a full planning application as soon as possible will allow us to progress quickly, and get new facilities constructed and up and running in the shortest possible timescale.
“We will be working with all schools, parents and the local community to make sure that any disruption for students and families is kept to an absolute minimum.”