UPDATE: New school for Barns Green approved

JPCT 170413 S13160808x Barns Green Primary School, Itchingfield site -photo by Steve Cobb

JPCT 170413 S13160808x Barns Green Primary School, Itchingfield site -photo by Steve Cobb

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A new school and 69 homes in Barns Green were approved by the council tonight (Tuesday May 21).

The application was deferred in April to allow Horsham District Council to negotiate with developers Berkeley Homes and West Sussex County Council over affordable homes provision.

Currently split over two sites the new £4.2m state-of-the-art premises will consolidate Itchingfield Primary School onto one.

69 homes will also be built west of the railway line north of Two Mile Ash Road after plans were approved by HDC’s Development Control North Committee.

Simon Simmons, headmaster of Itchingfield Primary School, said: “It’s a huge relief.

“It has been a long wait and now we can start the real work. I would like to thank everybody in Barns Green for their support over the years that it has taken to come to fruition.”

Penny Simpson, chairman of Itchingfield Parish Council, called the decision a victory for localism, and the decision had been a no-brainer.

Tricia Youtan (Con, Slinfold, Itchingfield and Warnham) said: “This whole application has involved the entire village and local community and can be considered true localism and neighbourhood involvement in planning.”

During the meeting Ian Howard (Con, Southwater) asked if Christian Mitchell (Con, Holbrook West), would be apologising to all members in the council chamber who he had called ‘lunatics’.

However Mr Mitchell said it was unsatisfactory that the committee had not been told prior to the April meeting where plans were deferred that the developer had proposed an alternative on affordable housing.

Meanwhile David Holmes (LDem, Horsham Park) said he was ashamed to be a Horsham district councillor as they were throwing away their planning policies by allowing an ‘unscrupulous developer’ to build homes and not provide affordable housing.

He added: “The developer has deliberately and cynically raised hopes in the community.”

He and others questioned why they were having to sacrifice affordable housing for an educational facility that West Sussex County Council should be providing.

Others praised HDC chief executive Tom Crowley for negotiating the affordable homes element.

However Godfrey Newman (Ldem, Forest) questioned whether the six added shared ownership properties should even be termed affordable housing, as there was virtually no difference between them and market housing.

Dr Holmes, Frances Haigh (LDem, Forest), Mr Newman, Malcolm Curnock (LDem, Broadbridge Heath), Simon Torn (Con, Roffey South) and Andrew Baldwin (Con, Holbrook East) abstained.