THE sale of a strip of land is set to benefit three schools in the Tyne Valley.

The developer and landowner of a housing development next to Corbridge Middle School have agreed to contribute to an artificial sports pitch at the school, on top of money to go towards the creation of two new school buildings in Hexham, if they can purchase a section of the middle school’s current sports pitch to widen an access road.

During a public consultation meeting on Tuesday, Jo Holmes, the chairwoman of governors at Corbridge, said that Northumberland County Council had submitted an application to the Secretary of State for Education for the disposal of part of the school land to widen Cow Lane for easier access to the ongoing development at nearby Milkwell Lane. If approved, the Straker family, which owned the land, and developers Gladman had agreed to purchase the land from the council with all proceeds going towards the creation of new buildings for Hexham’s Queen Elizabeth High School and Hexham Middle School, said Mrs Holmes.

She added that a separate agreement was in place to fund the bulk of the money required for the new sports facility at Corbridge. After the fund, the school would need to find up to £75,000 to reach the final purchase price, with governors confident funding from national sports organisations would be forthcoming.

Mrs Holmes said: “We have had problems with the quality of our sports pitches, problems with drainage etc, and they get worn out by this time of the year.

“The amount of playing space we have at lunchtime just isn’t big enough because we are full to capacity, and the children go on the grass with the slightest bit of rainfall. Not only will it benefit Corbridge Middle School, we also believe such a facility would be an amazing asset for the community of Corbridge.”

Alan Thompson, a resident on Cow Lane, questioned why the capital receipts raised from the sale would go to schools in Hexham and not Corbridge.

However, Mrs Holmes said it was a good result for education across the Hexham Partnership of Schools with all three benefiting from the sale.

She said: “We have been told money from the sale of land goes into a central capital pot for Northumberland County Council. When you look at the details from the Department for Education, as long as the funding is going into educational development in that area, it doesn’t specifically have to be that school.

“It’s going to be good for pupils at Corbridge and when they go to high school.”