THERE could soon be a new primary school in a town which has been suffering a shortage of pupil places for years.
Proposals are being put forward for a 210-pupil £4.5m primary school in Whiteley on one of two sites.
However, the new plans come against a backdrop of several failed bids over the past decade, including most recently for a free school, which was abandoned earlier this year.
As a result parents have been forced to take their children on lengthy daily trips to schools outside the town.
But if the plans get the backing of the community, the people behind it are confident it can be open for the start of the academic year in 2013.
A consultation has begun and a letter about it will have been sent to every home in Whiteley by the end of the week.
It is looking at two options, firstly to create a 210-place Church of England Voluntary Aided primary school in temporary accommodation in Whiteley which would move to a permanent site when the town expands to the north. Or to leave the existing primary school provision in Whiteley as it is and continue to provide additional primary age places elsewhere within the Western Wards.
The two sites being considered are land off Rookery Avenue or land off Lady Betty’s Drive.
County councillor Sean Woodward said: ‘The issue of insufficient primary school places in Whiteley has been serious for a number of years.
‘Sadly a new school which would have opened five years ago did not proceed.
‘We now have the very real prospect of being able to open a new school in temporary accommodation next September but to achieve this it is critical that the residents of Whiteley pull together to give it their strong support.’
‘I have had a number of meetings and discussions with the executive member for education, Cllr Roy Perry, my opposite number county councillor for the Winchester side of Whiteley, Patricia Stallard, county estates officers and education officers over the summer and I really do believe that, working with the Diocese of Portsmouth, a solution is in sight.’
There will be an open meeting on the issue from 7.30pm to 9.30pm at Whiteley Primary School in Gull Coppice on September 25.
The consultation runs until October 23.