NORTHUMBERLAND County Council is again inviting contractors to tender for the landmark project to create a combined schools and leisure campus in Ponteland.

Contractors Willmott Dixon had previously been identified as the preferred bidder for the project, but the council says that due to commercial reasons, a new tendering process will be carried out.

Leader of Northumberland County Council, Coun. Peter Jackson, said: “We are confident that going out to tender again will not materially affect the agreed design or timescale of the project in any way. We simply want to guarantee the best possible value for money for our residents and communities.

“The community was delighted with the approved design for the development and ensuring top quality learning environments are available for our young people is key to us. This exciting project will provide modern facilities for students for years into the future.”

The development will see the existing Ponteland leisure centre demolished and replaced with a much improved leisure centre and a secondary school and primary school. Other schools across the partnership will also benefit from significant investment in their buildings as part of the scheme.

The development will consist of state of the art facilities within two new school buildings and a new leisure facility to include; swimming pool, fitness suite, badminton courts, outdoor sports fields, a full size 3G pitch, library and a fire station, all based on the site of the existing leisure centre on Callerton Lane.

A planning application for additional temporary classrooms was submitted, to ensure the temporary accommodation can be provided to accommodate the additional secondary pupils in September 2019.

The new development is scheduled for completion by September 2020.