BOSSES at Northumberland County Council have unveiled plans to spend £17m on refurbishing its ageing headquarters.

County Hall in Morpeth, which was built in 1981, is set to have a facelift in favour of relocating to Ashington – a move which was scrapped when the Conservatives won the local elections last May.

The proposed redevelopment has been included in the local authority’s medium term financial plan, but it has not yet been approved by full council.

Other capital investment projects identified include £132.7m set aside for schools, £94.2m on the Newcastle-Northumberland Rail Line, £68.3m on highways and £35.7m on housing.

Elsewhere, £38m is earmarked for improvements to the council’s vehicle fleet, £22.8m for leisure services and £10m for car parks.

The budget for the coming financial year and medium term financial plan, which runs until 2022, suggest existing financial pressures amount to over £64m, including £19.5m from Arch, £10m of new savings to be identified, a £3m historic pressure on children’s social care and a £1.2m support package for Active Northumberland.

Households across the county could face a 2.99 per cent council tax rise from April as a result. The increase would see residents in the average band D property paying an extra 85p per week.

The proposed tax rise will go before the county council on February 21 and would generate an additional £4.5m of funding each year.

Other extra income, amounting to almost half a million pounds for 2018-19, will include a 20 per cent increase in planning fees allowed by central government.