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Future of Theale Primary School in doubt

"Bitter blow for the village and local children"

John Herring

Reporter:

John Herring

Contact:

01635 886633

Application for Theale Primary School replacement submitted

PLANS for a replacement primary school in Theale have been plunged into crisis once again.

The Ofsted rated outstanding primary school, in Church Street, is oversubscribed and needs to expand to meet demand.

West Berkshire Council submitted plans for a 341-space school on land at the North Street playing fields in March this year.

The council was up against a deadline of September 2017 to open the school or it would be at risk of losing £7m of government funding for the project.  

Now it says that deadline is likely to be missed.

The land for the proposed school is owned by the Englefield Estate, which it leases to Theale Parish Council.

The parish council objected to the planning application and said it had serious concerns about the site and the safety of children accessing it.  

It later agreed to release the five-acres of land needed for the vital school at a meeting in April; but has now reversed its decision. 

West Berkshire Council said that the parish council's decision meant that children in Theale may not be able to go to school in the village.

The district council is now looking to force the plans through via a compulsory purchase order on the land. 

Speaking about the decision the council's portfolio holder for education, Dominic Boeck (Con, Aldermaston) said: "This is a bitter blow for the village and the local children due to start school in the coming years.

"Due to Theale Parish Council's decision, we're likely to miss our deadline and it's disappointing for us, for the village and particularly for the children who may now face a longer trip to school."

For a full report, see this week's Newbury Weekly News out on Thursday. 

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