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Councillors approve lease for Forest Bridge School to move to Braywick Park

Councillors approved a loan of £65,000 to secure the future of a Maidenhead pub and a lease agreement for Forest Bridge School to relocate to Braywick Park at cabinet last night (Thursday).

A lease will be signed today (Friday) which will see Forest Bridge School move to a new site in Braywick Park after councillors approved the decision.

The free school for children with autism is currently based in the former Oldfield School building in Chiltern Road, and the new site will see the school move to an area behind Stafferton Lodge restaurant.

Speaking at the meeting, Jo Haswell, vice chair of governors said the school, which was set up by parents, has been a ‘phenomenal success’ and has reached its capacity with 58 pupils.

She said: “We are squatting in the old Oldfield buildings at the minute.

“We have a waiting list and every week we have applications from parents in the borough and outside the borough to come to our school. Stories of our success are spreading far and wide.

“The plan is we will move into our permanent home to create 40 additional places and for more students to access the provision.

“I’m very much asking you to support giving off lease of land to school, we really need it, it’s very distressing for us as parents to turn down pupils for places when we know we can help them and make a real difference.”

Cllr Natasha Airey (Con, Park), cabinet member for children’s services, told councillors that three existing tenants in the park would be affected by the proposals including Maidenhead Target Shooting Club, Maidenhead Driving Range and Braywick Nursery.

She said negotiations were currently taking place with Braywick Nursery to amend the site boundaries and the nursery’s lease ends in August 2021.

Councillors approved the report, and Forest Bridge School will be allowed to stay in the current site for another year.

A planning application for the new building is expected in July.

Councillors also approved a loan to the Craufurd Arms Society Ltd of £65k which will see the group secure the Crauford Arms pub.

In September The Advertiser reported campaigners were seeking to bring the pub in Gringer Hill into community ownership.

Mark Newcombe, group chairman and branch manger for CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), spoke to councillors at the meeting and thanked them for their support.

He said: “We want to make it more than just a pub, we want to combat social isolation and make it a true community centre.

“All of our supporters are local people from businesses who have come together to save a nice pub in Maidenhead

“I trust our request will meet with your approval and just a word of caution, if we do lose support for the Crauford Arms I am going to start drinking at the Conservative Club, you have been warned. “

The loan will be repayable after three months at a rate of 5 percent.

 Also discussed:

- A one minute silence was held at the beginning of the meeting in tribute to the victims of the Westminster attack.

- Cllr Geoff Hill (Con, Oldfield), cabinet member for customer and business services, said that town centre WiFi would be available in May for areas in Maidenhead and Windsor. It will give residents and tourists 30 minutes of free WiFi access before they are asked to pay and revenue streams will go back to the council.

- Cllr Samantha Rayner (Con, Eton Wick), cabinet member for culture and communities, discussed a report which would see a consultation carried out with residents who have limited access to library services. The Borough would purchase a mobile or container library facility.

- Cllr Natasha Airey discussed a report about the standard and quality of education in Royal Borough Schools.  

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