03:45AM, Friday 25 May 2012
Angry villagers have pledged to fight in the courts to block plans to rebuild a busy school on greenbelt land near their homes.
Outraged shouts rang through the council chamber at Maidenhead Town Hall, as Royal Borough cabinet members agreed last night to move Maidenhead's Oldfield Primary School from Chiltern Road onto a new site in Bray Road just south of Chalgrove Close, near the Fishery estate in Bray.
The move is seen as vital. The popular school needs to double in size to meet demands for places.
About 100 angry opponents packed the public area of the Town Hall with many having to stand. They cheered and clapped after hearing Fisheries Residents Association chairman Doctor Barrie Mair warn they would challenge the rebuilding decision in the courts.
But their applause turned later to shouts of outrage when Royal Borough deputy leader Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Maidenhead Riverside) hit back, saying: "By taking legal action you are only making lawyers wealthy through the council tax, which ought to be used to help those most in need."
Cllr Michael-John Saunders (Con, Bisham and Cookham), cabinet member for policy and performance, had earlier appealed directly to Fisheries residents not to delay the building of the extended school for a year by going to a judicial review.
He said: "The requirements of the wider community deserve support across the community."
Councillors had pinpointed three potential sites on which to rebuild Oldfield. But in the end the Green Lane and Braywick Meadows sites were dropped in favour on Bray Road, the only one large enough to contain its own playing fields.
Cabinet member for education Cllr Eileen Quick (Con, Clewer East) warned that demand for places at Oldfield had reached the point where parents living 100 yards away had been unable to get their children in to the school. She said urgent action had to be taken now.
A lone call from Cllr Geoff Hill (Oldfield, Conservative), for Winbury School in Hibbert Road to be expanded instead, fell on deaf ears.
The aim is to open the new school on the Bray Road site in September 2014.
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