Monday, 02 August 2021

Residents have their say on new school site

A PUBLIC consultation has been launched on possible sites for a new free school in Caversham.

A PUBLIC consultation has been launched on possible sites for a new free school in Caversham.

Residents are being asked for their views on a permanent location for the Heights Primary School, which opened at temporary premises in Gosbrook Road in September.

The possible sites are: High Ridge in Upper Warren Avenue: Mapledurham playing fields, off Woodcote Road; Albert Road park; Bugs Bottom, off Hunters Chase; and land belonging to Dysons Farm at the junction of Shepherds Lane and Kidmore Road, which is in South Oxfordshire.

Reading Borough Council is sending about 67,000 letters to homes in Reading and the parishes of Mapledurham and Kidmore End, outlining how the consultation process will work. A public meeting will be held at the Rivermead leisure centre in Richfield Avenue, Reading, on March 25 at 7pm.

A public survey will then follow and once this has been completed the council will pass all data to the Education Funding Authority, which will make the final decision.

Fiona Helen, of Save Albert Road Park, said: ?The school is very much needed and we welcome the consultation to enable the community to decide the location but we do not believe Albert Road Park is the most suitable site for the school.

?It could not continue to exist as a recreational facility for the whole community in addition to being a site for the school.?

Martin Brommell, of the Mapledurham Playing Fields Action Group, said: ?We support a new school but not at Mapledurham playing fields because they are held in trust.

?They are not the property of Reading Borough Council who seem to think they own the land. The land is for recreation and sport. Education is not one of those criteria.?

Malcolm Pemble, of Save Farthingworth Green, which was set up to oppose the Dysons Farm site, said: ?A school for Caversham should be in Caversham and the Heights School was created specifically for the children of Caversham Heights.

?There is no proper reason for including this Oxfordshire location, which was dismissed by the Education Funding Authority 18 months ago. We urge residents to go and look at the other sites.?

Caversham Residents Against Inappropriate Development was formed after the agency bought the High Ridge site for the school.

It says it accepts the need for the school but says the former bungalow site is inappropriate and inadequate.

Julie Branson, CRAID chairman, said she urged people to consider the importance of the education of future generations.

The Save Bugs Bottom group says the land should be protected for its ecological value as it is a habitat for wildlife and protected species, such as badgers, bats and red kites.

It also says there is no public transport access to the site.

The council?s information pack will be available from next week at http://beta.

Hard copies will be made available at the civic offices in Bridge Street and in local libraries and leisure centres.

Residents who want to attend the public meeting are asked to register their interest in advance to help the council plan for numbers. Register at the same web address or by writing to: The Heights Consultation, Civic Offices, Bridge Street, RG1 2LU.

A recording of the meeting will be placed on the site afterwards.

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