Friday, 24 September 2021

School site 'not ready' for new housing

PLANS to move Goring Primary School remain unlikely to become part of the village’s neighbourhood plan, say volunteers who are writing the document.

The Diocese of Oxford, which runs the Church of England primary in Wallingford Road, has proposed relocating it to a new £6.5million base on farmland north of Springhill Road.

Governors say homes could go on the old site so it should be included in Goring’s draft neighbourhood plan before it goes to a referendum this autumn.

The document, which a steering group is writing under parish council supervision, will name the sites where 86 new homes should go to meet Government quotas by 2027.

At a full council meeting last Monday, the group’s co-chairman David Wilkins claimed the school’s plan might not be ready for “serious consideration” before the referendum.

He said: “We appreciate that the governors are acting for the good of their pupils but we have a wider view and must look out for the good of the village. Those two things don’t always align.

“The proposal is far from complete... everyone can agree the current school facilities aren’t as good as they might be but the document lacks the level of substance we clearly explained was needed some time ago.

“The neighbourhood plan must be finalised as soon as possible if we are to protect the village from unwanted development.”

The new school would initially be as big as the current one, which houses up to 212 pupils, but could expand to 318 places.

The old site would be redeveloped into 34 flats while 56 new homes would also go on the new school site while a further 46 would go on another field on the other side of Wallingford Road.

Both are owned by the Hildred family, which is working with developer McAdden Homes.

Governors argue the school is oversubscribed and potential new pupils are being turned away while the Sixties buildings are dilapidated and would be uneconomical to refurbish.

The county council says more work is needed to assess whether the plan is viable.

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