Image demonstrating Council sets out progress on plans for Hexham Middle School Site 

Council sets out progress on plans for Hexham Middle School Site 

Ambitious plans to bring the former Hexham Middle School site back into use are continuing with the development of a Master Plan for the land. 

Northumberland County Council owns the 16 1/2 acre site on Wanless Lane and has outlined the timelines it is currently working to and how it will involve the local community in the decision-making process. 

Hexham Middle School moved to the existing Queen Elizabeth High School site in September 2021 and a master planning exercise is currently being developed by IDP Architects to look at options for utilising this key vacant site. 

The team’s work involves assessing the site, its challenges, looking at building layout and density, and developing costings and valuations. 
Initial proposals incorporate exploring options for housing, including affordable housing, an extra care scheme and independent supported living bungalows, along with seeking to retain green space. A priority for the council is to continue to provide community garden facilities on the site. 
These proposals are just a starting point based on an initial wish list and no firm decisions have been made at this stage. 

The planned schedule will see architectural proposals being drawn up around February 2024 which will be followed by a public consultation period currently proposed for March 2024. 

Feedback from the consultation will help to shape the final plans for the site which will be drawn up in early summer. 
Councillor Wojciech Ploszaj, cabinet member for Supporting Business and Opportunities said: 
The council is committed to providing something really special on this site for all generations of the community, based on the current needs of the local community. 
This includes working closely with Guy Opperman MP, who has been a dedicated advocate for a positive solution for Hexham Middle School site.  
“We will be seeking the views of the local community and the full involvement of all stakeholders with an interest in the site, at the appropriate times.” 
We welcome and value feedback from all quarters, ensuring that every contribution is considered during the project development.” 
The former school site includes a Grade II listed building with curtilage listed Gatehouse meaning they have particular historic and/or architectural significance and are subject to regulations which protect their unique character. 
IDP Architects are experienced in Master Planning with vast experience in conservation and Listed Buildings works. 
The school site has been used this year by the BBC to film a children’s TV programme. It will require DfE consent for any change of use and any new development. 
The council’s ongoing work in getting this site back into positive use sits alongside its other commitments to improve the town centre and invest in facilities in the area. This includes the £38m investment in the new Queen Elizabeth High School, more than £3.5m being spent through the Hexham High Streets Heritage Action Zone and a planned £300,000 refurbishment for The Shambles, a prominent Grade II listed building in the town centre. The town is also to become better connected following the recent announcement of the almost £9m Levelling Up Fund award to improve cycling and walking between Hexham and Corbridge. 
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