VILLAGERS will have the final say over plans to build a new £8m school after a spat between councillors forced the plans shelved.

Parish and district councillors have been unable to reach an agreement over the lease for the North Street playing fields just outside Theale.

Theale Parish Council holds the lease, but the village will now have to wait until a referendum is completed to find out if the plans are given the green light.

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 Graham Jones, West Berkshire's leader, rejected claims made by the parish council that he and his colleagues had failed to respond to a letter over further talks.

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.

Reading Chronicle:

"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."

Cllr Jones accused Theale councillors of moving 'deliberately slowly' due to their concerns about the suitability of the land and loss of football pitches.

The demand for the new school was created by housing projects and the leader for Education at West Berkshire, Lynne Doherty, said needs could no longer be met.

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 parish council spokesman added: "We have 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’. It would rather use its limited resources to resolve the important issue of education provision for Theale residents."