• Donnington Grove

Theale residents vote in favour of land release for new school

Theale residents have voted in favour of releasing land to build a new primary school in the village.

A parish poll was held earlier today (Thursday 15 March) to give residents a say on whether five acres of land currently leased by Theale Parish Council should be made available to West Berkshire Council to build a new £8m school in the village.

Residents voted on the following question:

Should Theale Parish Council relinquish the lease on the land at North Street Playing Fields to allow a new primary school to be built on that site as per planning consent?

A total of 2,357 people were eligible to vote and 940 votes were cast (a turnout of 39.8%). The result was:

Yes: 499 votes / 53%
No: 440 votes / 47%

As a Parish Poll is only advisory and Theale Parish Council should now call a meeting and formally vote on releasing the land to enable to the new school to be built in the village.

Speaking after the result was announced Ian Pearson, West Berkshire Council’s Head of Education said: “I’m delighted that residents have recognised the importance of building a new school in Theale and voted to release the land needed for the project. It is a vote of confidence in our plans and will make a huge difference to the future generations of children in Theale.

“Now the community has had its say the time has come for Theale Parish Council to come together to formalise the decision and agree to release the land. The decision paves the way for a new school and I hope the council will make the decision swiftly so that we can get on with the building and be ready to open in September 2020.”

Following previous delays in making decisions, West Berkshire Council wrote to Theale Parish Council several weeks ago requesting that it meets promptly after the poll in order to formally make its decision. It is hoped that Theale Parish Council has arranged such a meeting to make its decision as any further delay will cause West Berkshire Council to begin implementing its alternative plan to increase capacity at other schools outside the village.