Review of Alnwick school site facilities and needs of its users

Members from the junior section of Alnwick Harriers at the Lindisfarne campus.
Members from the junior section of Alnwick Harriers at the Lindisfarne campus.

The Lindisfarne Middle School campus as well as the needs of all its users will be subject to a full review before decisions are made on its future.

Last Thursday, we reported that the planned demolition of all of the buildings on the campus had been put on hold following concerns raised by sporting and other groups that use the facilities, such as the sports hall.

That evening, at Alnwick Town Council’s annual meeting, county-council officers confirmed that this was the case and that they wanted to involve the town council and all the user groups as much as possible.

It was explained that the demolition decision was made primarily to avoid the type of vandalism which was seen at the former high-school site on Howling Lane.

Coun Gordon Castle said: “Proposals were made without a full understanding of how many users there were.

“It became clear eventually that what we had on the table was not good enough and couldn’t continue.”

The meeting also heard that a bid to register the site as an asset of community value, meaning any move to develop the site would be subject to a six-month moratorium to allow the community to buy the site, had been successful. The officer suggested that working with the council was a better and less ‘heavy-handed’ way forward though.

Members of the user groups still had many questions, but can at least continue using the site for now.

Different aspects and issues on plot

In a comprehensive assessment of the site and its various uses, Coun Martin Swinbank underlined that there are three main issues to consider in relation to the future of the Lindisfarne campus.

The first is that the facilities are vital for a large number of groups, mainly volunteer-led, which serve young and old.

He also talked about the trees on the site, which are well over 100 years old and should be kept and made subject to a tree preservation order.

The third issue is that publicly-accessible green space is at a premium in Alnwick and that, in line with the neighbourhood plan, the playing fields and other open land should be retained.