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Business & Economy

Northumberland College reveals Wansbeck Business Park campus plans

An education provider has unveiled plans to create a new base it says will “transform” its offer to students.

Northumberland College has bought land on Wansbeck Business Park, in Ashington, to build a campus.

The blueprint includes three buildings, housing classrooms, technical industry workshops, immersion and simulated learning environments, sports facilities, complete with football pitch and multi-use games area, and offices.

Bosses say the campus – which will supersede an existing site on Ashington’s College Road – will be developed by the Department for Education on behalf of the college.

And it has already appointed architect Race Cottam, with Mott Macdonald engaged to work through a feasibility study.

Ellen Thinnesen, chief executive of Education Partnership North East, which incorporates Northumberland College, Sunderland College and Hartlepool Sixth Form, said: “Our new Ashington campus will transform our provision and create a fresh, modern and innovative environment for our students.

“It will also provide a stimulus for central Ashington and a big boost for local retailers.”

Councillor Jeff Watson, chair of economic regeneration company Advance Northumberland, which sold the land to the college, said: “There’s going to be a state-of-the-art campus in the centre of Ashington, which will be a real boost not just for the college but the whole of the town and the wider area.

“The ambitions of Northumberland College mirror the ambitions of Advance Northumberland, and we’re looking forward to helping them as this scheme moves forward.”

John Johnston, chair of Ashington town board, added: “This is an anchor project in wider plans that are being developed for Ashington that will deliver significant positive change for the town centre.

A planning application is expected to be submitted to Northumberland County Council later this year.