Thu, 14 Jul 2016
PLANS for a vitally needed new primary school in Theale were approved last night (Wednesday).
West Berkshire councillors unanimously backed their own application for a 341-place school to be built at the North Street playing fields.
The decision was met with applause from residents and members of the school community who had turned out to hear about the future of the Ofsted rated outstanding school.
The district council needs to open the new school by September 2017 in order to meet the growing demand for school places in the village.
The local authority also said it was at risk of losing £7m to build the school if it did not meet deadlines.
Speaking at last night's meeting villager Paul Dinsdale said: "The people of Theale parish want this school. We know that with every month the cost goes up and the money is at risk of being lost.
"Please support village children and build Theale a school."
Although the plans have been approved the project may face further delays.
The land for the new school is owned by the Englefield Estate, which leases it to Theale Parish Council.
The parish council has refused to release the land saying that it had serious concerns over the safety of children travelling to the school.
The decision means that West Berkshire Council may have to acquire the land via a compulsory purchase order.
The district council said this would be a last resort depending on the result of negotiations with Theale Parish Council.
For a full report and reaction, see next week's Newbury Weekly News.