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Replacement pitch plans for Theale submitted

Football pitch proposal to compensate for lost land

Application for Theale Primary School replacement submitted

A NEW football pitch could be constructed in Theale to compensate for land lost when a new primary school is built in the village. 

West Berkshire Council has submitted proposals to place the new pitch at the North Street playing fields.

In July last year, the district council approved plans to build a 341-place primary school on five acres of land at the site, saying it was urgently needed to cope with demand.

The land purchase for the new school will be funded by a contribution already made by the developer of the nearby Lakeside scheme.

West Berkshire Council had requested an additional £1.4m from the developer to help pay towards the cost of the school.

However, a planning inspector said that the request was “unreasonable” and ruled it didn’t have to be paid.

Theale Parish Council, which leases the site for the new school from the Englefield Estate, has so far refused to release the land because of concerns about pupil safety and traffic accessing the site. 

It had also felt that land offered to offset the loss of a pitch was not suitable.  

The parish council’s unwillingness to budge resulted in the district council voting to carry out a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to secure the five acres of land.

The loss of two pitches at North Street also meant that district council had to await approval from the Government to give the new school the go-ahead.    

The new pitch will be leased to Theale Parish Council by the Englefield Estate.

In its application, the district council said that the Government had not asked for the replacement pitch, but, as the land had been offered by a third party, the council now “had the opportunity to deliver this mitigation scheme to the benefit of Theale community”.

The council added that the area will also be available for walking and dog walking and that 24 car parking spaces will also be provided. 

A new vehicular entrance will come from the Theale Golf Club access road.

The council’s highways department has questioned whether the number of car parking spaces is sufficient, however, given that there would be 22 players on the pitch plus officials, leaving no room for visitor parking. 

Theale Parish Council will discuss the application at its next meeting on Monday, May 8. 

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