PLANS for a new £8m school in Theale have been thrown to one side after parish councillors failed to give the green light.

West Berkshire Council has been working to increase the number of school places in the village for the last four years, but has failed to reach an agreement over the land with Theale Parish Council.

Despite having the funds and planning permission to create the new school, the proposals have been shelved in favour of creating additional school places elsewhere.

Councillor Lynne Doherty, executive member for Children and Young People, said: “It is with regret that we have come to the conclusion that there is no realistic prospect now of delivering a new school in Theale.

"It is still our belief that the future education of Theale children is best met by a new school and we are deeply disappointed that despite so much hard work our plans cannot progress any further.

"We have the money, land and planning permission to deliver a new school and the support of the community for our plans."

A number of different locations were considered but the land owned by the Englefield Estate and leased to Theale Parish Council was one of only a few options.

Cllr Doherty added: “The provision of the land was agreed subject to Theale Parish Council giving up its lease and accepting replacement land. It said a decision would be made after we got planning permission for the replacement playing field.

"This was secured in July last year and despite this no decision has been made on the lease. We have reluctantly accepted there is no more we can do to build the new school.

“Local people are supportive of our plans and I know they will share our frustration and disappointment. However, we have a duty to provide more primary school places and we cannot wait any longer.

"Our only option now is to increase capacity at other local schools and we will be drawing up our plans to do so in the coming months.”

Theale Primary School was built to have one new class of 30 pupils each year.

Due to an increase in demand it has been using temporary accommodation to take up to 45 new pupils each year while a permanent solution has been found which would allow for two new classes each year.

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.

West Berkshire Council has today written to Theale Parish Council confirming its decision to halt work on the new school.

The letter includes an offer to reconsider the decision only if confirmation the land will be released is received by the end of January 2018.

Nick Carter, chief executive, writes: "I have been asked to make it clear that should Theale Parish Council decide in the very near future to release the land then this Council will reconsider its decision outlined in this letter.

"The council remains firmly of the view that the future education of Theale children would be best met by a new school in Theale and we have worked for over four years to try and achieve that."