THE future of Aldryngton Primary School remains uncertain after multi-million pound plans to expand the Earley school were officially postponed this week.
Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) approved the increase for neighbouring Loddon Primary School and two other primary schools in Woodley - Beechwood and Highwood - at a meeting on Thursday (March 16).
Although the council gained planning permission on the basis of a lack of school spaces in Earley, a sudden u-turn was unveiled by Maiden Erlegh ward Councillor, Paul Swaddle, last week.
The leader for Children's Services, Charlotte Haitham-Taylor, explained how plans to spend £4.8m to increase the capacity of Aldryngton were no longer necessary, while an additional £7.5m would be allocated for the other three schools.
She said: “Demand for school places has been going up and continues to increase. WBC has a statutory responsibility to ensure that there are sufficient school places across the Wokingham Borough.
“By investing in this scheme we will be able to provide excellent primary school education to Wokingham Borough families.”
Applications for early-years education in Earley had not met the council's original projections, forcing them to dismiss their plans after a heated consultation.
Earley Town Council rejected the plans earlier this year for fear the expansion would put children at risk from nearby traffic, as well as the inevitable loss of the school's beloved swimming pool.
Councillors and parents were also concerned following an incident in January, which saw two five-year-old children rushed to hospital with serious injuries after being hit by a car in Silverdale Parade.
Councillor Clive Jones, who campaigned vigorously against the proposals, said he was cautious to celebrate the outcome of the executive meeting, as the planning permission leaves the council open to expand the school any time in the next three years.
He added: "They have already got planning permission for the next three years so they can always start again this time next year.
"I am delighted that the council have listened to residents and the Lib Dems who have campaigned to stop this unwanted and unnecessary expansion.
"I suggested the council use some of the money intended for Aldryngton to improve the school by replacing temporary classrooms, but this was not received well by the Conservatives."