Plans to expand Braywick Court School were given the green light by the Royal Borough last night (Wednesday).
At a meeting of the Maidenhead Development Control Panel, which was packed out with at least 30 people showing their support for the application, the proposal was waved through with 10 votes in favour against just one abstention.
The Hibbert Road free school, which opened in September 2014, currently uses the former Winbury School site, which shut in 2011.
It was seeking permission to demolish its existing 19th century building and replace it with a two-storey building capable of accommodating 210 pupils.
Despite more than 400 letters being written in support of the application however, the plans still faced sharp opposition.
Speaking in the public part of the meeting, Sir Michael Alcock, of the Hibbert Road Neighbourhood Watch, called the design a ‘flat-roofed, glass-fronted monstrosity’ and complained about the impact on the greenbelt and traffic.
But Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Maidenhead Riverside), the leader of the council, who was observing the meeting, argued that despite concerns it was essential the application be approved.
“I understand how difficult this must be for residents,” he said, “and in an ideal world this school would not be built in this place.
“But we have an urgent need for schools.
“If this school does not get built there will be a chronic issue with primary school places in the Royal Borough.”
He added: “We need this school, otherwise we are going to have hundreds of parents asking why we did not approve this.”
Two other schools also had applications accepted by the panel.
St Luke’s Church of England Primary School, in Cookham Road, Maidenhead, was given thumbs-up for plans to build a new staff car park.
And so was a proposal to extend a classroom at Cookham Rise Primary School, in High Road, Cookham.
Both were approved unanimously and without debate.
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