THE application for a new primary school in south Newbury is a way to “ease in” plans for the 2,000-home Sandleford Park development, say Greenham parish councillors.
Members of the council said that plans to build the 210-place primary school should be rejected on that basis.
If approved, the application – submitted by West Berkshire Council – will see the single-storey school built on land adjacent to Newbury College with a new link road off the A339 providing access.
The parish council has already objected to the proposed 2,000-home development.
The plans for the school were considered by members of Greenham Parish Council at a meeting last Wednesday.
Parish councillor Lindsey Middlemiss said: “I have concerns about the school given that the Sandleford development hasn’t been given approval yet.”
Mrs Middlemiss also raised concerns about the new access from the busy A339 dual carriageway, saying: “I feel there’s an issue around access. They would have to put traffic lights in.
“It’s going to be dangerous, no matter what they do.
“You can’t have a primary school on a road like that."
Fellow councillor Paul Inman said: “This feels presumptuous. It almost looks like a way to ease in the application.”
Chairman Julian Swift-Hook agreed and said: “That looks pretty obviously the intention to me.”
Councillor Paul Walter said: “I propose we object on access, loss of amenity space and overdevelopment.”
Mr Inman added: “Especially since it’s allocated to a housing site which hasn’t been granted planning permission yet.”
West Berkshire Council has insisted the primary school is independent of the Sandleford development.
The view of Greenham parish councillors is in contrast to that of Newbury Town Council, which earlier this month offered its support to the development of the school.
Elizabeth O’Keeffe (Lib Dem, Victoria) told a meeting of the town council’s planning and highways committee on March 13: “As a governor of a primary school, we are very aware of the pressure on school places and we don’t want to be playing catch-up.
“I think we need to keep ahead of the game and have these sort of provisions in place before the buildings and the families arrive. The more provision we can have the better.”