Thu, 12 Jul 2018
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.