A PROJECT to deliver a new primary school in Theale is due to get underway in the next week.

Theale Parish Council (TPC) have officially released the land, which has been earmarked as suitable location for the school.

The plans have caused controversy among villagers, but a parish poll held last year suggested the majority of residents were in favour of the proposals.

Since 2014, West Berkshire Council has been looking for a site for a new school in the village as there is not enough space to expand on the existing land.

The council's contractor will take possession of the site on March 18 and the new school is scheduled for completion by Easter 2020.

Lynne Doherty, executive member for Education, said: "This project has taken some time to come together, but we are delighted that we got there. We look forward to working with TPC and the residents of Theale to create a fantastic community asset.

"The need for a new school is urgent. With the present numbers of village children reaching school age by September 2018, the existing site will become wholly unmanageable.

"Theale Primary is a fantastic school. It is rated 'Outstanding' by Ofsted and I am so pleased that we are able to future proof the impressive standards of education in Theale for many generations to come.”

The parish council held an extraordinary meeting in September to discuss the proposals and voted to surrender the lease for the playing fields in North Street

This will enable WBC to progress with plans to build an £8 million school on the site and provide additional spaces.

The two councils became embroiled in a bitter fight after the parish council initially refused to hand over the playing fields, fearing the loss of valuable football pitches.

One of the concerned residents told the Chronicle: "Any traditional villager will tell you that Englefield Road is the most ridiculous site for this school.

"It has caused so much division. There is a lot of tension in the village. I understand why the parents feel strongly about this, but they are not thinking about the future."

Several alternative sites were considered for the new school to relieve the strain. The district council is keen to prevent children from having to travel further than necessary to attend school.