Council moves to ease fears of "done deal" over Charvil primary school siteBy Jon Nurse
October 23, 2012
Council officers have tried to calm fears that the site for a new primary school in Charvil has been chosen.
Wokingham Borough Council’s consultation meeting with villagers was met with scepticism when officers identified space near Charvil Village Hall in Park Lane and land in the south of East Park Farm as one of the best options for a primary school.
More than half the residents raised their hands in an impromptu vote, saying they felt the council had decided where the school will go.
Brian Grady, the council’s strategic commissioner for children, young people and families, answered questions over the council’s primary school places review. One woman said she feared the plans were set in stone.
He said: “We are not going to the executive in two weeks to build a school in this lady’s backyard.
“This is the start of the consultation to see if we can find a viable site. Nothing has been written off in terms of these options.”
Parents questioned why land north of the A4 wasn’t being considered, while Paul Mundy, 48, of East Park Farm, challenged the possibility of using land south of the estate.
“In documents I’ve been through there is clearly significant covenants on the country park,” he said. “I think it should be on record the park is for the community. Many people probably bought houses thinking it would stay a country park.”
Mr Grady responded: “I understand the concerns and requests. The position of the borough [council] is clear with covenants. We want to keep open space but we see covenants as something that isn’t unavailable for negotiation.” Expansions to Robert Piggott CE Infant and CE Junior Schools in Wargrave, St Nicholas CE Primary School in Hurst, Polehampton CE Infant and Junior Schools in Twyford or The Colleton Primary School in Twyford have not been ruled out.
Mr Grady also faced questions on whether catchment areas could change. He said areas are reviewed annually.
More than 120 villagers filled Charvil Village Hall last Tuesday.
Adrian Keward, of East Park Farm Drive, said: “For me tonight was making sure it’s not a done deal whether residents like it or not. There’s still a lot of scepticism in the rest of the room that it is.
“People living in East Park Farm believe it’s going there and they’re going to take some more convincing.”