PLANS for a multi-million pound upgrade of an agricultural college moved a step further this week.

For Sunderland College submitted three separate planning applications to Northumberland County Council to demolish existing buildings at the Kirkley Hall campus following its recent merger with Northumberland College.

In June, Sunderland College revealed its proposals to create a newly constructed equine centre, a specialist animal management centre and a veterinary nursing centre at the campus near Ponteland. The development will come complete with university-style accommodation for students.

To make way for the development, existing buildings will need to come down.

Northumberland College principal, Nigel Harrett, said: “The planning applications were the first phase in an exciting redevelopment programme for Northumberland College.

“Construction workers are already on site and we are delighted that our new redevelopment programme will transform the college into the leading education provider that the region deserves.”

Northumberland College, which also has bases in Hexham, Newcastle, Blyth, Berwick and Ashington, recently merged with Sunderland College and Hartlepool Sixth Form College to form the Education Partnership North East.