Image demonstrating Overwhelming support for council plans to build two new schools for Hexham

Overwhelming support for council plans to build two new schools for Hexham

Well over a hundred people attended a public information event in Hexham to hear about exciting plans to build two new schools on the current Queen Elizabeth High School site in the town.

There was overwhelming support for the principle of such a development - with those attending feeding in their comments and some queries about the finer details.

The event was an opportunity for the public to see the feasibility work that has informed the business case and some high level plans for a possible design of the co-location of the two schools.   

Council officers have been working with Hadrian Learning Trust to establish a business case and proposal for the redevelopment of the current ageing and increasingly unsuitable middle and high school buildings.  

The design shown at the information event was intended to demonstrate the deliverability and affordability of providing two new schools on the high school site. The actual design for the new schools will be developed during the procurement process, with details of this to be finalised this summer.

Information boards at the event also showed Hadrian Learning Trust’s draft education vision, along with timelines for the project as a whole.

Local county councillors have warmly welcomed the new schools - looking forward to seeing first class state of the art facilities developed for future generations of young residents.

Cllr Cath Homer, cabinet member for culture, arts, leisure and tourism at Northumberland County Council said:  “I am absolutely delighted to welcome these plans. I have been a long-term and very strong supporter of new schools in the town.  

“My particular interest is obviously in culture, leisure and the arts, and I will be working closely with the development team to make sure that there are facilities within the new school buildings that allow strong cultural and creative aspects to learning as well as modern and sustainable sporting facilities.

“As a Hexham ward member too it is great to see these plans getting underway, and I look forward to the next stages.”

Cllr Nick Oliver is cabinet member for corporate resources at the council.  He added: “As part of our ambitious budget proposals we have worked hard to make sure that we can invest in schemes like this which improve education prospects, alongside others which will boost the county’s economy and create new infrastructure.  

“This council is proposing one of the biggest ever capital programmes of investment over the next three years, which we will balance with protecting important frontline services.  

“We’re committed to our promises of investing in Northumberland’s future and delivering the very best services for all - and I’m particularly proud that we are able to announce this fantastic project, which will also be of huge benefit to future residents of my Corbridge ward.”

Members of the children’s services team were on hand at the event to answer questions - and to advise that further detailed information will also be provided during the development of the project.  There was a lot of positive feedback on the plans.

Graeme Atkins, executive headteacher of Hadrian Learning Trust said:  
"I was delighted with the turnout at the event and the many positive and supportive comments made by people attending. Lots of good questions were asked and hopefully people found the answers in response helpful. We will be undertaking a formal consultation on the proposal in the coming weeks and I would encourage as many people as possible to take part."

An outline business case for the replacement school buildings is due to be considered by the council’s cabinet on 12 February, with the estimated cost of the project £37.1m.

The procurement process for the Hexham proposals will start soon, with a view to construction on the new school buildings being completed by September 2021.
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