New school for Barns Green expected to be approved in May

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A critical meeting to iron out the final details in a pioneering scheme to give Barns Green a new school funded by 69 homes has been hailed a major success.

The flagship neighbourhood project is now expected to go before May’s planning meeting where it is hoped council officers will recommend councillors approve it.

A decision on the application was deferred earlier this month because although Berkeley had offered up six shared ownership homes as part of the scheme the funding of that element had not been agreed.

Last week, the chief executives of Horsham District Council and West Sussex County Council met with the chairman of Berkeley Homes (Southern) and agreed that the subsidy for these six homes could come from the reallocation of general community benefit cash arising from the development plus an additional contribution from Berkeley.

This would see all three parties contributing to the final package to ensure its success.

Announcing the agreement, Horsham District Council Leader Ray Dawe said he was delighted this last sticking point had been resolved.

“The final decision on the overall planning application will be taken by the planning committee on May 21st and we must not pre-judge their verdict,” he stressed.

“But we now have a scheme that combines affordable housing, a magnificent village school as well as new homes - all of which the vast majority of residents in Barns Green and Itchingfield say they want.

“This is a superb example of neighbourhood planning in practice and excellent partnership working between parish, district and county councils and I hope will set the benchmark for communities across the Horsham District - and further afield.”

He acknowledged the tremendous work of the local district ward councillors - Patricia Youtan and Stuart Ritchie - as well as the county councillor, parish councils, the head teacher, and residents, who had been so forceful in keeping the project at the top of the agenda.

“I hope this will be the first of many such planning blueprints - giving communities a real sense of ownership over the shape of their District in the years ahead and bringing the type of benefits that they most want,” he concluded