Sun, 14 Jan 2018
THEALE’S district councillor is to step down from his role on the parish council over its attitude towards a new school in the village.
Alan Macro (Lib Dem) said he would be handing in his letter of resignation, after serving for 25 years.
“I have been very concerned about the parish council’s attitude to the project for some time and I have taken the decision to resign from the parish council,” Mr Macro told the Newbury Weekly News.
“There are members of the parish council who are not convinced that the school expansion is needed for Theale children.”
Mr Macro said that there were “apocryphal stories” circulating that children from outside of Theale were being given places at the school.
He added that, as the school has an autistic unit on site, most would come from outside Theale.
Mr Macro said that when the school intake increased from 30 to 45 it was unlikely to fill up with Theale children straight away.
West Berkshire Council has said that it will create additional school places elsewhere, mainly in Calcot, to compensate for the lack of a new school, if the parish council does not relinquish the land needed to deliver the scheme.
Mr Macro claimed that this would create problems for families.
“The issue with Calcot is it’s very difficult to walk to, you have to cross the motorway, and bus fees will be quite expensive,” he said.
“If children can’t get into Theale and get put into Calcot, the council will not provide transport because the nearest school is in Theale.”
And Mr Macro said that the district council should have been more forceful in getting the school approved.
He said: “I would have asked for it to be worded as an ultimatum.
“It would have been much clearer and more effective if it had been worded as an ultimatum
“We need to do something to bring things to a head, but my preferred thing was to actually progress the compulsory purchase order.
“It’s very sad. Very, very sad.
“And I just wish the two councils could have co-operated much better.”
Mr Macro has abstained from voting on the school at the parish council, owing to him being a school governor and on the school’s project board.