AN HISTORIC 155-year-old walled garden in Hexham will not be retained as part of a £36m investment which will see the building of two new schools.

Northumberland County Council held two public consultations on the plans for Hexham Middle and Queen Elizabeth High School last month, which outlined detailed plans for the two new schools.

The proposals revealed that the Grade-II listed Hydro and Winter Gardens buildings would take centre stage at the site, with the new buildings erected behind these.

However, the current walled garden, which was erected in 1864 will be demolished.

The county council revealed that a new garden area would be established at the heart of the building.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “Different design options were considered to work with the constraints of the site.

“Unfortunately, that work concluded that the walled garden could not be retained in its current form.

“Under the proposals, the space has been re-imagined, so that students and staff can enjoy a natural oasis on the footprint of the walled garden.

“It will become the heart of the site, re-using the historic reclaimed materials, with extensive planting.

“We will mark its former footprint, with cloisters around the edge providing shelter and shade.

“The project team will work closely with volunteers who have lovingly maintained the walled garden, to create a new garden.”

Paul Wharrier, from Hexham Civic Society, added: “The 1960s school buildings are in dire need of replacing as well as restoring the Hydro building.

“It would be nice to keep the walled garden, but if the site demands that it’s moved then it must be in the best interests of the plans.”