Seahouses councillors seek community use for disused former first school site

The charity which owns the former first school site in Seahouses is to be approached about its potential use as a community venue.

Seahouses First School closed in summer 2017 with the move from a three tier to two tier education system which saw a primary school open on the middle school site.

Although the old school playing field is being cut on a regular basis, the site is up for sale and concerns have been raised about its dilapidated appearance.

North Sunderland Parish Council is now planning to approach trustees of the Lord Crewe’s Charity to ask if the building could be put to use for the wider community.

The former Seahouses First School. Picture: Alan Macfarlane

Cllr David Shiel, chairman, suggested it could be used as a village hall.

Cllr Sylvia Hillan hoped it could be used for craft workshops, while Cllr Ailsa Shiel said it could be a health and well-being centre.

And Cllr Steve Williams suggested it could be nominated as an asset of community value.

But there was a word of warning from Cllr David Donaldson who also questioned the need for another community building when the village already has a sports centre and community centre.

“It would be a big liability to take on,” he said. “It would be a tremendous cost just to maintain that building.”

Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson, Bamburgh ward member on Northumberland County Council, felt it was a good idea to approach the charitable trust.

He has previously expressed a desire for the building to be turned into a community centre with offices and classrooms but admitted this was difficult to achieve because of the legal situation.

"There are covenants on the building,” he said. "The Lord Crewe Trust gave it to the council, the education authority at the time, on the proviso that when it stops being a school it goes back to them.

“One approach would be to contact the Lord Crewe trustees and ask if they would consider giving it to the village.

“But as far as the county council is concerned they have to follow the legal procedure. As a public body, when it sells things it has to get full value for it.”

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