PARISH councillors have been accused of spreading lies after plans to build a new school in Theale had to be scrapped.

West Berkshire Council had intended to invest £8million to provide much-needed spaces in the village, but the proposals were shelved following a delay over a land agreement.

Residents were told a lack of communication with Theale Parish Council forced their hand, a claim which has been firmly rejected by West Berkshire's leader, Councillor Graham Jones.

He said: “It is disappointing that rather than make a decision on whether to release this land the parish council is choosing to spread misleading information about a lack of dialogue with us.

"As well as responding to the parish council’s correspondence we have worked hard to be open with the local community about our position and the efforts we have made to deliver a new school for the village.

"It is a shame we are having to talk about this when we should be talking about the education of future generations of children in the village.

"Theale Parish Council seem to be moving deliberately slowly both in making a decision and in its correspondence with us. I would urge them to work with us with the dynamism the situation merits if we are to get to a point when we can move forward."

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.

Councillors said they were disappointed by the 'misleading' and 'inaccurate' claims after residents came out in full force to show their frustration.

Parish councillors claimed they had not received to a letter sent to the chief executive of West Berkshire, while district councillors say a response was lodged and acknowledged on January 4.

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.

A meeting has been arranged for next week with district and parish councillors and Alok Sharma MP.

A spokesman for Theale Parish Council added: "The issue of the proposed new primary school has been a very complex, time consuming and lengthy one and has placed huge pressure on the councillors and staff of what is a relatively small parish council.

"However, the parish council has worked hard throughout to try to negotiate with West Berkshire Council to resolve the issue.

"The parish council would not choose to enter into a ‘blame game’ with West Berkshire Council, it would rather use its limited resources to resolve the important issue of education provision for Theale residents.

"The parish council believes that district councils should be able to work in partnership with all its parishes."