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Risk of new school for Newbury being lost

Council calling special meeting to press ahead with urgently needed facility

John Herring

John Herring

john.herring@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886633

New primary school approved for Newbury

PLANS to build a new primary school in Newbury and a crucial access road from the A339 into Sandleford Park are both at risk of being lost after talks between West Berkshire Council and Newbury College stalled.

The council claims that the college had originally agreed to gift the land, but then later had a change of heart and said it would not transfer the freehold or the leasehold. 

The college is now seeking a development agreement instead, to ensure that the access road becomes a public highway following its construction.  

The council said that if an agreement was not reached by Monday, there would be insufficient time to deliver the project. 

As a result, it has called an 11th hour meeting tonight (Thursday) to allow it to press ahead with building Highwood Copse School.

Time is running out though and if an agreement is not reached by 4pm on Monday, the council says it will walk away from the negotiations, jeopardising both the 210-pupil school to the south of Newbury College and the link road.

There is also a risk of the Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) pulling its funding for the road if it is not confident of an agreement being reached. The LEP has committed £2m towards the road, supported by £400,000 of council funds. 

One of the Sandleford developers, Bloor Homes, is also required to make a contribution.  

As part of the scheme to deliver the school, the council has proposed building an access road off the A339 from the recycling centre. 

The road is crucial not only for the delivery of Highwood Copse, but will also serve as a fourth access route into the proposed 1,500 home development at Sandleford Park – something the council insists is vital to mitigate the extra traffic.

See today's Newbury Weekly News for the full report. 

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Article comments

  • TonyForward

    13/07/2018 - 11:11

    In March 2013 WBC published a report from a public meeting which said of the Sandleford site "The site has been modelled through the Transport Assessments as deliverable with 2 vehicular accesses onto Monks Lane. However, in response to concerns raised through consultation, opportunities for an all vehicle access link through Warren Road on to the Andover road(currently proposed as a sustainable transport link for pedestrians, cyclists and buses) is also being explored as is an all vehicle access onto the A339.". If WBC says this access is essential now then how was the core strategy sound when it was to run until 2026 yet is already not sustainable without new accesses.

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