A school has been given planning permission to keep a temporary building with extra classrooms for five more years.

The council has granted Alfred Sutton Primary School on Wokingham Road permission to retain its double-stack modular building, which has four classrooms.

Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) Planning Applications committee approved the plan for the council-owned primary school at Wednesday’s (June 2) meeting, which was the first in-person meeting at the Civic Offices since March 2020.

First in-person meeting in Civic Offices since March 2020

First in-person meeting in Civic Offices since March 2020

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The temporary building has been at the site since 2013, used to provide four classrooms while an extension to the main building was being constructed.

The permanent extension are now complete but the council wants to retain the temporary classrooms.

Council officer Connie Davis said: “The reasoning for this is that the continued additional space is required by the school due to the Covid-19 pandemic, to ensure that they are compliant in terms of safety, and to comply with school forecasting, as the school needs to ensure it has five per cent floating capacity available to provide accommodation to students should the need arise.”

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the school is using the additional space to allow for greater separation distances between pupils during the pandemic.

Additionally, “a rising population in Reading has seen increasing demand for primary places”, and the council “needs to ensure adequate provision and facilities are in place to meet this demand”.

Sport England previously objected to the plans, as they said it “prejudices the use or leads to the loss of use of land being used as a playing field”.

But it withdrew its objection for this current application, with the condition that the temporary building is removed from the site on time and the playing field is reinstated appropriately.

Ms Davis said: “Whilst officers are mindful that the proposal will result in the continued loss of open space, due to the temporary nature of the proposal and the use of the site it is considered justifiable in this instance.

“A condition will be attached, ensuring the land is reinstated.” READ MORE: ‘Recipe for disaster’ – Concern at plans to build roads outside Coley homes

Previously, the plan was for the temporary classroom to be relocated to Moorlands Primary school but pupil forecasting determined the places were no longer needed at that school.

The committee also approved a variation to approved plans for 96 homes at the former Cox & Wyman building on Cardiff Road.

Councillors agreed to the developer’s request for the new play area at the site to be provided before the 50th residents moves in rather than the previous requirement which was for it to be built before a single occupier moves in.