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New primary school approved in Whiteley
12:38pm Thursday 24th January 2013 in Winchester
HAMPSHIRE education chiefs have backed plans to build a new £2.2m temporary primary school to tackle the shortage of places for pupils in Whiteley.
County councillor Roy Perry, executive lead member for children’s services, yesterday approved proposals for a 210-pupil school on a site owned by the county council next to Lady Betty’s Drive and Leafy Lane.
From September, children will be taught in temporary classrooms, but will have a playground and a field.
In the longer term, the school will transfer to new permanent buildings in North Whiteley as part of a major new development.
The school will be run by the Church of England’s Winchester and Portsmouth dioceses with building costs met by the county council.
Admission will not be faith-based. Parents have long campaigned for extra places to cope with ever-increasing pupil numbers as Whiteley grows.
The existing three-form entry primary in Whiteley is over-subscribed and children denied places have had to travel miles out of the catchment area to schools south of the M27.
Winchester city councillor Vivian Achwal said she was delighted by the news, but added: “I do have concerns about the extra the extra traffic that is going to be generated in Leafy Lane, but I have always said that Whiteley children are educated in Whiteley and this is now been achieved.
“All credit to Whiteley parents for pushing the case for another school here, I’ve always maintained Whiteley children should be educated in Whiteley and HCC have been dragging their heels on this for far too long.”
Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery said: “I'm absolutely delighted for the people of Whiteley that this is finally happening after long years of campaigning.
“Calls for another primary school in the village have been on the radar for more than a decade, and so it really is exciting news that the campaigners have finally persuaded Hampshire County Council that the school is needed and the numbers justify it.
“The temporary nature of the accommodation is not ideal, but it's nevertheless very welcome and I'm certain that future development at North Whiteley will see this school permanently established in the next few years.”