Monday, 16 December 2019

Three new classrooms to be built next year

WORK to expand Benson Primary School will begin early next year.

The Oxford Road school will build a block of three classrooms on part of its playing field ready for use by the start of the new academic year in September.

Oxfordshire County Council, the education authority, has appointed contractor Kier to undertake the work from January 6.

The plans were approved in January despite widespread objections. The new building and a hard play area will take up a quarter of the field, which is in the Benson conservation area.

Headteacher Helen Crolla said: “This has been a long time in the planning stage but the school will require more teaching space for September.

“The leadership team will be planning carefully any changes to the safety of the site, changes to playtimes and advice for parents on safe parking.”

The school says more space is needed to meet the extra demand for places caused by hundreds of new homes being built and that another three classrooms may be needed by 2024.

But the plans were criticised by South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, which said the scheme should be redesigned.

Benson Parish Council also objected, warning that it could lead to the rest of the field being built on in the future.

Mark Gray, who is Benson’s representative on the county council, and Councillor Sue Cooper, who represents the village on the district council, said the playing field should not be built on and the county council should come up with an alternative plan.

Cala Homes, which has planning permission to build 241 homes on land north of Littleworth Road, has said it will provide a sports field as part of that development.

Mrs Crolla added: “The new field is now under construction and can be seen from the small roundabout on Oxford Road. This will be ready for September 2020, along with the changing area and PE store.”

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