Astley and Whytrig

Planning permission granted for £40m carbon neutral super school

Planning permission has been granted for Northumberland’s first carbon neutral school that is set to transform education for young people in Seaton Valley for generations to come. 
The £40m project from Northumberland County Council will see Astley Community High School and Whytrig Middle School rebuilt on a new shared campus to create a state-of-the-art learning environment for over 1,000 students.  
Sports facilities including indoor and outdoor sports pitches and a swimming pool will also be available for use by the wider community. 
Following public consultation, councillors approved planning permission for the development on a site north of The Avenue, Seaton Delaval at a meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee.  
Councillor Guy Renner-Thompson, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “This project has been in the pipeline since 2016.  
A huge amount of work and consultation has taken place so that we now have this really innovative and ambitious project that will benefit the young people of Seaton Valley and the wider community for generations to come. 
“We’re making record investment in our schools across the county. Our redevelopment of Queen Elizabeth High School and Hexham Middle School recently won a national award, which I think reflects the high standards we are aiming for when it comes to our young people. We’ve also pledged investment for schools in Amble and Berwick and The Gilbert Ward Academy is due to open in Blyth in September for young people with social, emotional and mental health needs. 
“The designs look outstanding, and I look forward to seeing them become reality.” 
Designed by Ryder Architecture, the project will use innovative technologies to create the first carbon neutral in operation school in Northumberland, supporting the council’s ambition to become carbon neutral by 2030.  
Its central location will also enable many pupils to walk or cycle to school and will include a “park and stride” as part of the school travel plan.  
Councillor Trevor Thorne, Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, said: “I think this an amazing investment and a great opportunity to enrich the lives of people in Seaton Valley. We’re going to get a state-of-the-art school and I‘m very happy for the headteacher, staff, pupils and community that we are investing in this corner of Northumberland.” 
The schools are part of the Seaton Valley Federation of Schools. John Barnes, Executive Headteacher, Seaton Valley Federation, said: “I am delighted that planning permission has been granted.  
“The development is very exciting. I can’t wait for the next stage to begin and for the project to be completed.  
“I am looking forward to having the building and facilities that the young people and community deserve and giving the staff the opportunity to work in such a great place and inspire the future generations.” 
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