Friday, 12 August 2022

Community consulted on sites for school

A PUBLIC consultation on sites for a new free school in Caversham will be launched next month.

A PUBLIC consultation on sites for a new free school in Caversham will be launched next month.

Residents will be asked their views on four possible locations for the Heights Primary School, which opened at temporary premises in Gosbrook Road in September.

Last summer the Education Funding Agency announced that the school would set up a permanent home on land it had purchased at High Ridge in Upper Warren Avenue.

Residents protested, arguing it was unsafe for children due to the lack of public transport and the fact that the road had no pavements in places.

As a result, the agency postponed building work for eight weeks to seek alternatives.

It then revealed it had put the project on hold and asked Reading Borough Council for help with the decision.

Now the council wants to weigh up the pros and cons of development at High Ridge against three other green spaces in the area. They are the Mapledurham playing fields, Albert Road park and Bugs Bottom, a wildlife heritage site off Hunters Chase.

Residents have filed petitions opposing development at all four, although a fifth has been submitted in favour of the Mapledurham site.

The consultation is expected to cost more than £30,000 and will begin on February 2 with a direct mail campaign including information packs.

There will be open meetings on February 17 and 25. Residents will be asked to register their interest before a venue is chosen and admission will be by prior reservation only. They will then be invited to submit their comments via paper or online questionnaires.

All feedback must be received by March 20 so that the council can publish a report by March 30.

The authority has no say in the choice of sites but will decide any planning applications the agency puts forward.

It is a trustee of the two playing fields and Bugs Bottom so has formed a consultation sub-committee to separate its roles.

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