Work started on a new primary school in Barns Green last week with pupils and staff excited to see the ‘significant milestone’ in the new facility’s construction.
Currently Itchingfield Primary School is split across two sites, one in Barns Green and one in Itchingfield, but developers Berkeley gained planning permission to build a new school and 69 new homes in Barns Green from Horsham District Council last year.
Members of the project’s liaison committee visited the school’s existing site in Barns Green last Thursday April 24 for the ceremonial ‘turning of the first sod’ in preparation for work to start on the new school’s foundations.
The state-of-the-art facility is due to be completed in the summer of 2015.
Peter Hammond, chair of governors at Itchingfield Primary School, said: “The whole school is really excited about the start of the construction of their new school premises in Barns Green. All the pupils and staff will finally be coming together into a brand new school building, designed to 21st century standards, in the spring term 2015.
“The benefit of the new premises cannot be underestimated in positively contributing to improving the children’s education and learning outcomes.
“Now finally we can now see the outcome of an amazing community collaboration project that will be so beneficial for many years to come.
“We are extremely grateful to all those who have helped and supported the school development over the years to achieve this significant milestone.”
The new Itchingfield Primary School has been designed to accommodate 150 students, with the potential for further expansion.
It will boast generous classrooms and play spaces to create a stimulating environment for the school children.
Inside the space will be bright and airy and flooded with natural daylight and will have easy access to outdoor spaces encouraging outdoor learning in inclement weather.
Horsham District Council approved the new school and 69 new homes west of the railway line north of Two Mile Ash Road in May 2013 to the delight of Barns Green villagers who called the decision a ‘victory for localism’.
The project was hailed as ‘transformational’ for the parish of Itchingfield by district councillor Stuart Ritchie (Con, Itchingfield, Slinfold and Warnham).
The council’s Development Control North Committee had deferred the two applications a month before in order to negotiate some affordable housing provision within the 69 new homes.
Andrew McPhillips, head of land and planning for Berkeley Homes (Southern), said: “The school governors have been lobbying for decades to get a new primary school for the village of Barns Green.
“We are therefore thrilled to be involved in such an exciting project which will shape the future of primary school education in the locality, and will be working closely with W Stirland to ensure the project is a huge success.”
Ian Pinington, marketing director for W Stirland, added: “W Stirland is delighted to be working with Berkeley in the delivery of the new Itchingfield Primary School.
“Our construction teams have successfully completed many similar projects across the county and we are very excited to have been selected to add this stunning new school in Barns Green to our portfolio.”