Copyright www.srwphotography.co.uk by Stacy Woolhouse

Advertiser: School gets set to triple in size

Copyright www.srwphotography.co.uk by Stacy WoolhouseAs reported in Swindon Advertiser here:

PLANS are moving forward which could see one of the region’s most well-established schools dramatically increase in capacity.

With thousands of homes due to be built in the coming years, South Marston Primary School is set to triple in size over the next few years.

This is because applications for almost 2,400 homes have been submitted in and around the village of South Marston, meaning the school, which celebrated its 140th anniversary last year, needs to expand.

It currently has spaces for 105 pupils but this will grow to 315 and while no exact date has been set for the expansion, it could happen as early as September 2016.

The idea was first put forward in 2012 and talks have been ongoing since then. As it stands, the council owns half the site with the Diocese of Bristol owning the other half.

To move forward with the plan, it is proposed that the council transfers its half of the school over to the diocese so everything can move forward.

Andrew Wild, of Bristol Diocese, said: “This is not a case of the council just giving property away but is being done to make the expansion a lot easier.

“If there is one organisation leading with the plan then it makes everything a lot easier, especially when dealing with things like insurance.

“If the plan gets approved we will negotiate with the parish council as there is a tiny strip of land, which they own, that is needed to go with the expansion.

“As a result we would look to expand nearby playing fields.”

Mr Wild was also keen to stress that any expansion would both respect the history of the school while also providing a community asset.

He said: “The hall is a a great place spiritually and and will play an important part in any future plans.

“What is most important to me is that the community will have use of the facilities.

“People living in South Marston will therefore be able to use the facilities in the evening and ideally during the day, as well when the children are not using them.

“This is something I hope everyone will benefit from.”

It is likely that a design for the expansion will be submitted for approval early next year.

The decision to move forward and give greater control to the diocese will be made at a council cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

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