COUNCIL bosses insist there will still be plenty of fields for children to play on despite pushing ahead with plans to sell off green space to fund a new school.
A consultation meeting was held last night giving the public a chance to see how a new King Richard School, in Paulsgrove, Portsmouth, could look.
The proposals have been met with controversy as the government won’t fund a school providing 1,000 places, so the council has decided to make up the estimated £2m shortfall in the £11m project by turning some land, including fields, into houses and community facilities.
But Mike Stoneman, council strategic commissioning manager, promised that not all of the children’s outdoor space would be sacrificed, and that there would be new multi-game areas added.
He said: ‘There is a lot of land here for playing fields.
‘A significant proportion of the school will still have playing fields.
A significant proportion of the school will still have playing fields.Mike Stoneman, council strategic commissioning manager
Mr Stoneman added: ‘The council’s priority is to get a 1,000-capacity school on this site.
‘We want to ensure every parent who wants a child at this school is given an opportunity.
‘We know from our forecasts that in five years time, that won’t be available.’
The replacement building for King Richard School is set to be built to the east of the current site, subject to planning approval.
If it is granted permission then work will start early next year and be complete by the summer of 2017.
Students would then move over and the current school would be demolished.
To make up necessary funds, the council is seeking to acquire existing school land owned by the King Richard School Trust and develop it for other uses.
It has yet to be decided how exactly the land will be divided up and the sale will need the approval of education secretary Nicky Morgan.
Parents however are happy with the proposals. Belinda Austin, 39, of Paulsgrove, said: ‘The plans look really good. I am glad they are keeping a lot of the outside space and not just building loads more housing, plus we’ll be able to use new community sport facilities.’
Karen Daly, deputy manager of nearby Little Bounders Pre School, said: ‘This has been needed for a long time.’