Plans for innovative £40m carbon neutral super school in Seaton Delaval are approved
26 Apr 2022
Northumberland County Council’s Cabinet has approved the next steps in ambitious plans for new school buildings that will transform education facilities for generations of young people in Seaton Delaval.
Following consultation with staff, local community groups, county councillors, and the public, a preferred option has been approved for the £40m development that would see Astley High School and Whytrig Middle School rebuilt on a new shared site on land in The Avenue, proposed to open in April 2025.
The new buildings will allow all students across the two schools, which are part of the Seaton Valley Federation, to access facilities including science laboratories, art & design studios, sports pitches and a swimming pool that will also benefit the wider community.
Pioneering construction methods will also be used to create what will be the council’s first carbon neutral school and support the council’s agreed Climate Change Action Plan and its aspiration to move Northumberland to a carbon neutral position by 2030.
Councillor Glen Sanderson, Leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “Thank you to everyone who has shared their views in the consultations so far.
“The vast majority support the proposed development on the new site as the current site of Astley High School is too small for the new-build requirements.
“This is a hugely important step for the project and it’s going to be a fantastic first-class new facility.
“As well as improving the teaching and learning environment for current and future pupils in the schools, improvements to the on-site sporting and community facilities will benefit the wider Seaton Valley Federation community.
“We are also investing in ensuring the school will be net zero carbon in operation, supporting our ambition to become carbon neutral by 2030.”
The project will be the latest in a series of investments in schools across Northumberland as the council’s largest capital programme continues to take shape, improving education prospects for all.
Executive Director of Adult and Children’s Services, Northumberland County Council, Cath McEvoy-Carr, said: “The new school buildings are much needed and work will now start to develop detailed proposals, and these will be shared in the summer at a further public consultation event prior to planning application being submitted.
“There will also be the opportunity for people to respond to the planning application throughout the Autumn.”
John Barnes, Executive Headteacher, Seaton Valley Federation, said: "I am really pleased that this has been agreed. I cannot wait for there to be a school building that gives the pupils of Astley High School and Whytrig Middle School facilities that are needed in the 21st century.
“The standard of education at the two schools is already very good and these new facilities will allow it to be even better.
“There will be lots of opportunities for the school and wider community to shape the plans and it is an exciting time for all of us.”