Thu, 26 Apr 2018
WEST Berkshire Council has told Theale Parish Council it has until the end of July to provide the legal documentation which will allow a new primary school to be built in the village.
At a behind-closed-doors meeting last week, parish councillors agreed in principle to discuss terms of sale for the North Street playing fields.
The parish council had originally refused to give up the fields, which it leases from the Englefield Estate, because it believed it was the wrong site for the school.
However, a parish poll was held last month which saw 499 residents vote in favour of the parish council releasing the land (53 per cent) to the 440 who voted against (47 per cent).
In a letter sent out yesterday (Wednesday), West Berkshire Council’s chief executive Nick Carter urged the parish council to get the ball rolling to prevent any further delays to the project.
The letter said: “West Berkshire Council made it clear that it would delay making a final decision on whether to proceed with the new school until the local population had voted at the poll.”
It added: “Given the result of the poll, this council is now happy to start discussions with Theale Parish Council on the timetable for extinguishing the current lease and making arrangements for the construction of the new facility.
“In terms of timing, it is our view that finalising the legal documentation should now be completed by the end of July.
“This would give the school reassurance about the future and provide us with time needed to procure a contractor to construct the new school and the other associated works.”
Mr Carter’s letter added: “The new school has already been delayed, which has added to the already considerable cost, and the council has neither the appetite nor resources to continue negotiations that will add further financial pressure.”
The debate over whether to relinquish the lease at the North Street playing fields has divided the village.