Decision on new school due

Barns Green new school in conjunction with 69 new homes (submitted).
Barns Green new school in conjunction with 69 new homes (submitted).
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A new primary school and 69 homes for Barns Green could be approved by the council as early as the end of April - a developer hopes.

Berkeley Homes are aiming to deliver a £4m facility for Itchingfield Primary School, currently split between two sites, with infants in Barns Green and juniors at Itchingfield.

The new buildings would be on the old Barns Green school site, with the new homes across the road, just off Two Mile Ash Road.

Andrew McPhillips, development director of Berkeley Homes Southern, said: “Not only will these plans deliver much needed housing for the community, they will also enable the delivery of a comprehensive package of benefits that have been agreed with the local community.

“The major benefit will be a new primary school, which we will design and build on the existing school site. The application has been worked up in partnership with the local community and enjoys strong local support.”

Developed with a liaison committee plans would also contribute improvements to the village hall, an upgrade to sports club facilities, better changing facilities at the social club, and money for the village green’s children’s playground.

The scheme received a resounding thumbs up from existing schoolchildren in late 2012 as infant pupils wrote letters to Horsham District Council in support of the application.

Berkeley had originally hoped to gain planning permission by February as they wanted to begin work on the school in spring or summer 2013 with the scheme finished by September 2014.

Work on the homes would finish by 2015/2016.

However it said plans had been delayed due to planners’ insistence to provide social housing, and felt that it was not viable to deliver subsidised housing on top of the proposed new school.

Mr McPhillips added: “We have now submitted further evidence and provided an ‘open book’ approach which will hopefully give council planning officers the confidence to support the application.

“We really hope that the planning issues can be resolved soon, if we are to get on site and deliver a new school for the target date of September 2014.”