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New Theale primary school takes one step closer

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Parish Council agrees land deal for new school

The construction of a new West Berkshire primary school took a step closer this week after parish councillors agreed to give up the lease for the land.

West Berkshire Council submitted an application for the 341-pupil school with 26 nursery places to replace Theale Primary School in March.

Five acres of land was earmarked for the development at the North Street playing fields at Englefield Road, but Theale Parish Council had yet to make a decision on whether to give up the land, which is leased from Englefield Estate.

At a packed parish council meeting at The Pavilion on Tuesday, the parish council voted by a majority to give up the lease, but with a caveat.

A series of conditions were attached to which West Berkshire Council will now have to adhere as part of the deal, if they want to build on the land.

Parish councillor and district ward member for Theale, Alan Macro, said although he was satisfied that the school could now go ahead he had some concerns.

He said: “I am pleased that they have agreed to release the land, but I am a bit worried that some of the conditions that relate to highways safety worry the highways department who have said they aren’t necessary.

“I am also concerned that West Berkshire Council might find it difficult to meet some of the conditions.”

He added: “There is a growing concern about safety at Englefield Road where the new school will be situated, so it’s important that everything will be done to make it as safe as possible.”

Speaking of the Tuesday meeting, he said: “The room was packed, I don’t think we could have got any more people in.

“The public session is limited to 15 minutes but [on Tuesday] it was extended to 30 minutes.

“People were in favour of building a new school.

“There were still some people with doubts about whether it was the correct site, however.”

The decision was far from certain after the parish council originally objected to the new school plans due to lack of information on traffic and safety concerns.

West Berkshire Council will next determine the application at a later date, subject to the conditions imposed by the parish council.

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