Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) has still not decided (as at July 2018) if expansion of the exisiting primary school is possible, even though a draft feasibility study on this subject was submitted to OCC in February 2016. OCC advised the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee (NPSC) that they were not able to fund desktop studies or consider potential sites for a new school but suggested that ‘Locality’ might grant some funding.
The NPSC was successful in securing such funding and commissioned Atkins Global to undertake desktop studies on three possible sites. The NPSC needs to consider alternative sites for education purposes, ensuring that a new primary school can be built if the present site is not able to expand, either now or at some time in the future during the life of the Neighbourhood Plan.
These desktop studies form part of the evidence base of the Neighbourhood Plan. They have also been shared with OCC, to inform and enable them to consider all options in relation to expansion.
Currently, evidence suggests that OCC are unlikely to act on their own feasibility study of 2016 nor the independent desktop studies. OCC state they have no funding to build anew school and can only consider expansion of the present site despite the forecast increase in numbers that would accompany 250+ new houses (Bow Farm, Horsecroft and the Strategic Site west of the A417).
Nonetheless, the Neighbourhood Plan must anticipate the requirements of the Parish as far as 2031 and needs to ensure that allocation is made for sites such that the school has suitable future land space available to meet the needs of all the children coming to live here.
Download the School Desktop Studies report by Atkins Global here.