Architects appointed to progress former Hexham Middle School Site
26 Sep 2023
IDP Architects from Newcastle have been appointed by Northumberland County Council to work up proposals to bring the former Hexham Middle School site back into use.
Hexham Middle School moved to the existing Queen Elizabeth High School site in September 2021 and a Masterplan will now be developed looking at options for utilising this key vacant 16 ½ acre site on Wanless Lane.
There is a wish for the land to provide something for all generations of the community, based on the current needs of local residents. Initial proposals incorporate housing, including affordable housing, a nursery for young children, an extra care scheme and independent supported living bungalows.
A priority for the council is to continue to provide community garden facilities on the site.
Northumberland County Council own the land and is investing in the Master planning for the site.
Once the proposals are drawn up, the council will consult widely on them with local residents, businesses and stakeholders. This is expected to be later this year.
Councillor Wojciech Ploszaj, cabinet member for Supporting Business and Opportunities said:
“This is a one-off opportunity to provide something really special for Hexham and understandably there is huge level of interest in the site and its future use.
“These proposals are just a starting point based on an initial wish list and no firm decisions have been made at this stage.
“Master planning involves looking at the site, its challenges, looking at building layout and density, and developing costings and valuations. A lot can change during this process, and 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.”
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 is currently being used 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, £2.4m Hexham High Streets Heritage Action Zone and planned £300,000 refurbishment funding 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.