Saturday, 02 July 2022

50 homes would pay for school upgrade

ABOUT 25 people attended a public viewing of plans for 50 new homes in Sonning Common.

The development would be built on 2.6 hectares of land belonging to Maiden Erlegh Chiltern Edge School in Reades Lane.

The Maiden Erlegh Trust, which took over the school in 2018, says it would provide funds for improvements, including new infrastructure.

The site, which includes school playing fields and a former nursery building, is earmarked for development in the village’s neighbourhood plan, which passed a referendum in 2016.

The trust is working on the proposal in partnership with estate agent Savills and has now appointed developer Deanfield Homes to deliver the scheme.

An open evening was held at the school where residents could see the latest plans, which include 20 “affordable” homes.

In a joint planning statement the trust and developer say: “The land provides an opportunity to provide a high-quality residential scheme to support local needs.

“Deanfield will partner with an appropriate registered social landlord and propose the provision of affordable housing on site to include first homes and homes for social and affordable rent and shared ownership.”

They say the school and community will benefit with the refurbishment of the existing sports hall and improving the changing facilities and disabled access.

A new multi-use games area would be created near the sports hall, three new cricket nets would be installed and outdoor changing facilities would be built close to the playing field.

There would also be a 20-year community use agreement for the sports hall, games area, playing field and changing rooms.

The trust and developer say “rigorous” studies have been undertaken to ensure access, highways, flood risk and drainage have been
considered.

They say: “A single point of vehicular access is proposed to serve the site via the school’s existing eastern access. The junction improvements include the provision of a 2m pedestrian link extending from the footway on the south side of Reades Lane to the site together with an uncontrolled crossing facility and a new footpath link to the school.

“Street lighting is proposed at the site entrance with further street lighting across the development under consideration.”

When the plans were first put forward in 2019 some residents were in favour while others thought there were too many houses and it would put added pressure on Sonning Common Health Centre.

Jonathon Peck, chief executive designate of the trust, said the consultation event would help shape the forthcoming planning application.

He said: “It was a pleasure to be able to once again meet with members of the local community and discuss the proposed development and share some of the plans we have for investing the proceeds back into the school. All comments received will be considered by Deanfield.”

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