New free school set to take over Braywick Nature Centre site

New free school set to take over Braywick Nature Centre site

Reporter:

Simon Meechan

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New free school set to take over Braywick Nature Centre site

Plans for a new primary school to take over Braywick Nature Centre were rubber stamped by the Royal Borough last night.

At a meeting in Maidenhead Town Hall the cabinet approved the recommendations of a report which asked the council to agree to lease the former Winbury School and nature centre to the Bellevue Education Trust.

The trust will open Braywick Court School at the Hibbert Road site in September. The primary is one of two free schools opening in the borough, alongside Holyport College in Ascot Road.

Central government is funding the school, with the site leased from the Royal Borough for 125 years at a peppercorn rent.

The school will be funded by the Education Funding Agency, at no cost to the Royal Borough.

The Winbury School site was purchased by the Royal Borough in October 2012 for £583,000. Including stamp duty, legal fees, bills and repairs the land has cost the council a total of £716,939.

Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside)  spoke at the meeting, saying the new school represents ‘tremendous value for the local tax payer’.

He said effectively the public has paid just £720,000 for a new primary school, compared to the estimated £8.4million which the new Oldfield Primary School, in Bray Road, is costing.

The cabinet agreed yesterday that Braywick Court can eventually expand onto the site which currently houses Braywick Nature Centre, once a new location has been found for the centre.

The Education Funding Agency will contribute up to £400,000 for the new nature centre to be built.

Cllr MJ Saunders (Bisham and Cookham) described the nature reserve as ‘tired’, and said the deal is a positive for the borough.

He said: “All the money for the new school came from the Department of Education and not residents. All in all it’s a very good deal.”

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