Plans to expand primary school dropped after outcry

West Sussex County Council
West Sussex County Council

West Sussex County Council (WSCC) has dropped plans to expand Easebourne Primary School.

The plan was to double the school’s size from 30 to 60 children per year from September 2019.

But such was the local opposition during a recent consultation that Deborah Myers, the council’s director for education and skills, announced the proposal would not be progressed.

A report put before the council’s children and young people’s services select committee on Thursday stated: “The proposed expansion has generated a number of concerned comments from many of the local schools in the area and the wider community.”

Of the 125 consultation responses relating to the Easebourne proposal, 91 were objections.

The main concern, by quite a distance, was the impact it would have on other schools.

Other worries included an increase in traffic and the feeling the school was already large enough.

The report proposed an investigation into other options to cater for the demand for places. This could mean a further consultation later in the year.

Gordon McAra, vice-chairman of Midhurst Town Council, was a vocal opponent of the expansion plans, fearing the consequences for Stedham Primary School and Hollycombe at Milland.

Mr McAra said: “I’m glad that WSCC has listened to local opposition and taken a pragmatic view, withdrawing their proposals for a joint catchment area.

“The proposal was unwelcome at a time when primary education in the area seems to be on an even keel and making good progress.

“The local schools, including those in the wider rural area, can now plan for their future with much more confidence.”

Proposals to expand St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, in Bognor Regis, and Felpham Community College – a scheme which would see an investment of £12.5m – will go on to the next stage of consultation.