A MULTI-MILLION pound expansion of Addington School has been given the go-ahead despite fears it could spill onto a popular public open space.
Wokingham Borough Council’s executive has approved the £4.4million project which it says will enable more local children with special educational needs and disabilities to attend the school rated as outstanding by Ofsted.
Addington currently serves 206 pupils while a further 130 of Wokingham Borough children needing a special school place are currently educated outside the borough.
The council claims these placements, and the associated travel expenses, are disproportionately expensive and disruptive to the children.
However, some local people have objected to the proposals amid fears it could mean using up some of the public green space next to the school.
One person who asked not to be named said: “Of course, we want all children, including those with special needs, to receive the best education that can be provided but we have to look at the bigger picture.
“The adjoining public space is a popular and well used space for the people of Woodley and we fear some of that will end up being built on.
“Surely the planners can come up with a better scheme which protects that space but also benefits the children?”
In a statement, the council stressed the building work “would be contained within the existing school site.”
“The new classrooms would be situated where the ball courts and parking area now stand, and these would be relocated to the west of their current position. The neighbouring popular public open space, which is protected in our planning policies as a Site of Urban Landscape Value (SULV), will not be touched by the school’s expansion.”
Cllr Shahid Younis, deputy executive member for children’s services said: “Addington is an exceptionally well-run school and provides first-rate education thanks to its dedicated headteacher, staff and supportive parents.
“An expansion would allow us to educate more of the borough’s children locally. We currently send far too many of our children out of the borough to expensive special schools elsewhere. Expanding Addington will mean more of our children can benefit from this outstanding provision, have a better quality of family life, and it will also save taxpayers money in the longer term.”