PLANS to spend £4.5m on a Tynedale high school, as part of a bid to turn around its fortunes, have been approved.

Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee met on Tuesday and unanimously agreed to invest heavily in Haydon Bridge High School, which remains in special measures after being rated inadequate by Ofsted in 2014.

The £4.5m will be spent on a major refurbishment project to overhaul the buildings and outdoor facilities.

In addition to the renovation, the council wants to redesign the front of the school, increase the number of parking spaces and build two new sports pitches.

The proposals include the conversion of the existing design and technology block into a vocational centre, with an out-of-hours arrangement to allow night classes for adults. This centre will include a new toilet facility.

Other changes at the school would see the relocation of the library, learning resource centre, sixth form area and performing arts space.

At the meeting, Coun. Malcolm Robinson expressed concerns over the removal of 44 trees to make way for the building work.

He said: “Could we not ask for some trees to be planted in the new landscaping area?

“We have just declared a climate emergency and we are ripping the lungs out of the place.”

The county council’s commitment to invest in Haydon Bridge came after the authority rescued the school from the brink of closure last May following the withdrawal of Bright Tribe Trust as academy sponsor the previous year.

Despite improvements being made at the school, the most recent Ofsted inspection in June revealed that more work needed to be done to move the school out of special measures.