Image demonstrating Great turnout for Hexham schools drop-in events

Great turnout for Hexham schools drop-in events

Around 300 people attended two drop-in events last week where they found out more about plans to build two new schools in Hexham.

Northumberland County Council, Hadrian Learning Trust and developers Galliford Try provided details of plans, a model, and fly-through videos of the proposals to rebuild both Hexham Middle School and Queen Elizabeth High School on the high school site.

Feedback for the new school plans was broadly very positive, with a lot of attendees  liking the proposed layouts and facilities and the way that each school will have its own spaces and identity.  

 There was also support for the fact that proposals  retain and restore the Grade II-listed Hydro in its landscape with a large amount of  mature trees and green spaces, whilst providing state of the art new learning environments for students.  The use of the sports facilities for the community was seen as a positive, as well as the additional funding which will enable the development to maximise renewable power generation.

Some of the key issues that were raised, particularly by local residents, were around car parking, buses, pedestrian routes and disruption during the build process.

Plans showed that the layout for the site includes 235 parking spaces and 15 accessible spaces, plus drop-off and pick up within the school site itself for six minibuses and 20 full size coaches.

Traffic calming measures and traffic regulation orders are being considered in order to control any inconsiderate parking or speeding near the school site. 

Graeme Atkins, executive headteacher at Hadrian Learning Trust said:  “We have been extremely pleased with the level of interest shown at these drop-in events, and we would like to thank everyone who came along.

“We appreciate the many positive comments received about the proposals, and many people agreed with us that these new buildings will allow students of each of the schools to benefit from some fantastic spaces and facilities.

“We were also pleased to be able to answer questions that people had, address some misconceptions and hopefully allay any concerns.”

Jeremy Barnett, operations director at Galliford Try said: “Our team was very pleased to meet with a large number of parents and future parents for the schools, and also with local neighbours to the site.

“We hope that we addressed many issues at the events, but will also be looking very closely at all of the comments made, and taking these into account as we take the project forward.”

Cllr Wayne Daley, cabinet member for children’s services at Northumberland County Council said:  “I would like to add my thanks to everyone who took the time to come along to the consultation events.  The council, schools and Galliford Try teams will be analysing all feedback and taking all views and comments into account as we move forward with this exciting development for the future of education in West Northumberland.”

A planning application is due to be submitted towards the end of this month.  Once permission is granted, construction work would begin early in 2020, and the new schools will open in September 2021.
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