Thursday, 23 September 2021

Talks on schools merger to resume

TALKS on the merger of two schools in Wargrave will resume next month.

The “One School, One Site” campaign to combine Robert Piggott junior and infant schools on one location began more than 10 years ago.

Last year, Wokingham Borough Council agreed to create a business case and financial model for the new school but this was put on hold due to staff changes at the authority.

Now borough councillor Graham Howe is to ask council chief executive Majeet Gill  to bring the project back on track.

Cllr Howe, a former chairman of governors at the schools, said: “It’s very much in my top couple of things to do.

“We have now got a new sponsor in the council.”

The governors identified four possible sites for the new joint school as follows: 

• Land east of Wargrave. 

• Land south of Harvest Place. 

• Land south of Braybrooke Road. 

• Land west of the A321.

The cost of the new school could be funded by selling the current sites in Beverley Gardens and School Hill.

In 2014, the governors of the two schools said their existing buildings were either in a poor state of repair or unsuitable and the junior school was also overcrowded.

Residents supported plans for a merger. A total of 141 people completed a questionnaire about the idea and only nine of the responses were negative.

Similar plans were drawn up in 2008 but put on hold due to the recession before being resurrected in 2013 with the support of then Home Secretary and Maidenhead MP Theresa May.

The governors said they would have to take into consideration issues including power conservation, the use of eco-friendly buildings, access to the school on foot and the impact on traffic.

They have worked with the borough council, Wargrave Parish Council, the Oxford Diocese and the Piggott Trust, which owns the current sites.

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