CONCERNS have been raised over plans to remove a school’s gymnasium and learning centre despite a £2.65m investment to create a new school.

Last year, Northumberland County Council approved the funding for the closure of Haltwhistle Middle Academy in favour of creating a new primary school at the existing first school site.

However, the plans include removing the first school’s existing gymnasium and learning centre, removing the school’s sports facilities.

Former headteacher of the then South Tynedale Middle School in Haltwhistle, Lawrence Thompson, said the facilities were two of the principal benefits of the building.

“I am concerned that the county council is giving the £2.6m with one hand but taking away the facilities with the other hand, which is not such a good deal at all,” he said.

“I have concerns about what is happening to Haltwhistle children. It’s taking away the advantage of having a place for physical activity.”

Coun. Michael Ridley, who is also a member of the Haltwhistle Swimming and Leisure Centre committee, said there had been suggestions to offer the centre’s sports facilities to the school.

“I don’t think the children should have lost the gym,” he said. “The county councillor Ian Hutchinson said an extra £1.2m was invested in the school, but that means nothing if they don’t have the facilities.”