A community consultation exercise is starting as part of £2.5million plans to transform a derelict former school site.
Northumberland County Council’s ruling Labour administration has set aside the cash for a major overhaul at the vacant plot in Hadston, which was home to Druridge Bay Middle School.
The building was demolished in 2011 after shutting its doors earlier that year, as part of a merger with Amble’s James Calvert Spence College.
Now, moves are afoot to bring the plot back into use, and the consultation will focus on options for ‘dry-side’ sports and leisure provision, such as a sports hall, studio, gym, changing rooms and outdoor pitches.
A feasibility study and discussion with residents, groups and stakeholders will establish what facilities exist in and around the village and what type of facility should be provided and sustained.
Analysis will also be carried out to discover the service needs of the locality and how these might be met within existing and any proposed new facility.
Meanwhile, an options appraisal will look at design options and funding streams to deliver the project.
Druridge Bay ward member, Coun Scott Dickinson, said he was delighted with the progress being made.
He added: “I have asked the consultation to have a range of options and similar valued projects so people in Hadston and the surrounding areas can see what kind of thing they could get from the money we have committed.
“It’s important to point out this will only happen if the community wants it.
“This is about providing a facility like a gym and suchlike that local people currently don’t have access to and often are unable to travel to.
“It’s also about bringing health and wellbeing to the community and offering services locally that people can use to improve health and fitness.
“This is about bringing new opportunities and services to local people and will have no impact on what’s already here.
“I am unsure that housing is what’s needed, but a facility like this could really be of benefit to Hadston, Widdrington and surrounding areas.”
It is anticipated that the initial consultation exercise will be completed by the end of June this year. Dates and times for consultation events will be announced shortly.