New school plans shown to public

Posted on 27th January 2023 | in Amble Links First School , Community , Education , James Calvert Spence College - Acklington Rd , James Calvert Spence College - South Avenue

Plans to redevelop the James Calvert Spence College site on Acklington Road were shown to the public at a consultation event held by Northumberland County Council on 25 January.

Plans for JCSC will see a new building on land next to the current Middle School

The public were given a week to send in their feedback, and NCC then intend to submit a formal planning application at the end of February. If you want to look at the plans, you can see them here: You need to submit your comments before 1 February.

A new school building will be built on land next to the current Middle School, (formerly used as a hockey pitch,) after which the existing Acklington Road campus will be demolished and the land used for football and rugby pitches.

The South Avenue building will be extensively modernised to provide space for children from Amble First School, and 50 Special Educational Needs places for youngsters from Barndale School in Alnwick.

All the power in the new buildings will use electricity via air source heat pumps, solar panels on the roof, and LED lighting. The intention is to create a ‘net zero carbon in operation’ school.

As well as improving the teaching and learning environment, improvements to the on-site sporting and community facilities will be accessible to the wider community during out of school hours. The enhanced facilities include:
• A floodlit 3G full size football pitch
• A Multi Use Games Area
• A series of football and rugby pitches
• An all-weather running track

Over £36m has been agreed by Northumberland County Council to be spent on the school building development and upgrades to schools in the Coquet Partnership.

The current three tier educational system will be changed to two tier, requiring expansion to Broomhill, Grange View, Red Row and Amble Links first schools, which will now become Primary schools taking pupils aged 4 -11yrs. The new JCSC building will be able to take up to 720 pupils aged 11 to 18yrs.

Members of the public will be able to comment on the proposals once the planning application is submitted.

How will the plans benefit the community?

Northumberland County Council say that the new plans will not only provide vast improvements for schoolchildren and teachers, but the enhanced sports provision will benefit the wider community.
A floodlit 3G football pitch, traditional sports pitches, tennis courts/multi use games area, and a revamped running track will all be available to the public. There is also a four court sports hall.

The public will have access to sports facilities during out of school hours.

Access to the sports facilities and parking will be provided by the school. A community use agreement will be set up to ensure the prices will be in line with other similar facilities in the area.

Some comments:

A planning application is due to be submitted at the end of February

“It’s great seeing the plans being displayed for this long-awaited school and seeing the sports and community facilities on offer.”
Jeff Watson, County Councillor

“It would be marvellous for the children and for improvements in their education, but personally I still have concerns with the community use. I am also concerned about the traffic using Acklington Rd during construction”
Helen Lewis, Town Councillor

“I am really pleased with the plans, there are quite a lot of children from the Amble area who come to Barndale. We’ve had lots of input in the designs and it’s moved forward quickly from the initial concept.”
Mark Phillips, Head of Barndale

“As a community charity working with young people in Amble we are pleased with the plans for the new school building, while a little disappointed with the community elements. We want to contribute to the community use plan that will be part of the process as the project moves forward.”
Matthew Connolly, Amble Youth Project

“I’m excited for the floodlit running pitch.”
“I hope there are more toilets, and wider doorways, as at the moment we all collide, so it needs better student traffic flow.”
Two Year 9 students

Anna Williams

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