Academy head believes selling land to NHS would be a bonus
BERWICK Academy head teacher Stephen Quinlan believes selling playing fields to the NHS would be a win-win situation for the school.
Academy chiefs are currently consulting on the sale of 3.69 hectares of the school’s 17.5 hectare plot to Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust.
Speaking at a sparsely-attended public meeting this week about the sale of the land to the trust - which wants to build the new hospital there - Mr Quinlan said: “I have to make it clear that we see the sale of the land as an absolute benefit for the Academy.
“That may sound strange, given that we’d be losing land, but the reasons are: we have an enormous amount of land here; the deal would be wholly confined within the public service; and at the end we would end up with a capital receipt and our sports facilities would be enhanced. We see it as a bonus.”
Information exhibition boards outlining the proposal are on display at Berwick Library and Berwick Community Centre, the Cheviot Centre, Wooler and Belle Vue Centre, Belford. Feedback on the plans is invited before the end of the consultation period on March 17. The school will then submit the outcomes to the National Playing Fields Council, which will in turn advise the Secretary of State for culture, media and sport – who has the final say.
If the land sale were to go ahead, the money realised – an as yet undisclosed figure - would have to be used for the enhancement of sport in the Academy and the wider community.
Former chair of governors Wyndham Rogers-Coltman, who handled the initial request from the NHS, said: “If it came about, the money would fall to the governors of the Academy to ring fence it, but at this stage the governors have decided there’s no point in discussing how we should structure that arrangement because you should never count your chickens until they’re hatched.”
“It’s by no means certain that the Secretary of State will approve this,” Mr Quinlan added. “Though clearly we hope that he does.”
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Weather for Berwick-Upon-Tweed
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
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Temperature: 7 C to 16 C
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