Decision time for new Whiteley primary school
Sunday 20 January 2013
Hampshire County Council will consider proposals next week which could see a second primary school established in Whiteley.
The school being proposed by the Portsmouth and Winchester Dioceses is a one-form entry Church of England Voluntary Aided primary school. Land owned by the County Council has been identified as a possible temporary site for it.
The plan by Winchester City Council to bring forward the north Whiteley development area for housing over the next few years has prompted the proposal by the Dioceses to establish the school. The school could open on its temporary site, ready to take its first pupils in September this year.
The Dioceses have undertaken a public consultation on the proposals and they have received widespread community support, as it will enable children living in the area to go to school within the development rather than having to travel to local schools nearby.
The proposal is to locate the school on a temporary site adjacent to Lady Betty's Drive and Leafy Lane with a view to it re-locating to permanent, purpose-built buildings within the north Whiteley development once that land has been released by developers. The intention is that it would then become a three-form entry school when housing development dictates the need for more places.
Councillor Roy Perry, Hampshire County Council's Executive Lead Member for Children's Services who will consider the proposals at his decision day on Wednesday 23 January, said: "The County Council recognised the need for additional places to meet demand in Whiteley several years ago and we were very disappointed that the site that was proposed then, could not be secured. I completely understand parents' desire to have their children attend schools close to where they live so I look forward to considering these proposals which will provide additional school places in Whiteley to meet the demand for places now, and in the future. I know the proposals have the full support of local Council members, Councillor Sean Woodard and Councillor Patricia Stallard."
Councillor Ken Thornber, Leader of Hampshire County Council will be asked the following day (24 January), to approve the release of the land for the school, and the procurement processes for the buildings. They will cost just over £2m and will be funded by the County Council. He added: "The County Council first looked at building another primary school in Whiteley in 2006 but unfortunately we were not able to secure a suitable site on which to build a permanent school, which satisfied all the requirements at the time. This proposal could be the best approach in enabling the provision of much-needed primary school places on a temporary basis until north Whiteley is developed."