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Barton school extension approved after a six-year wait
IT HAS taken six years but work is to finally begin on a £6.6m extension to Barton’s primary school.
Construction should start at Bayards Hill Primary School next summer, after planning permission was given by council chiefs.
It marks the end of a lengthy battle to refurbish the 1950s Bays-water Road school, originally used for secondary pupils.
Ambitious £11m plans proposed in 2006 were delayed after Sport England objected to the loss of playing fields.
The objection was over-ruled on appeal only for the project to be put on ice after the coalition Government said it was unaffordable.
But Oxfordshire County Council last year approved a scaled down plan, which planning officers gave the go-ahead to last month in a behind-closed-doors decision.
The teaching wing and kitchen will be demolished to make way for a new two-storey block, to open for the September 2015 term.
It will be about three quarters the size of the existing building.
A hard games court will go beside the playing field and parking will be reconfigured. Windows and roofs will be replaced.
Headteacher Keith Ponsford said: “It has been a long time coming.
“It has never been a true primary school. With the new design it is much more focused on a primary school model.”
Chairman of governors Mike Parkinson said: “We are really pleased that after the disappointment of losing the funding, the council has stuck with the project.
“The school is spread across a very large site and it is quite difficult for it to feel like a single entity.”
Most of the old school will be demolished and the plan will intrude far less onto the field than the 2006 scheme, he said.
Sport England did not object, as the land to be developed is not part of a pitch.
The school has hosted the council’s county music service since 2002. The plan will add a separate entrance and parking for visitors.
Council cabinet member for education Melinda Tilley said: “The school is in quite bad shape. I’m pleased it is going ahead.”
Liz Brighouse, a Labour member for Barton & Churchill division, said: “It is a shame it has taken so long. The school was never built for primary age children. It has never been adequate for the children in it, it is in a very poor state.”
The school has 426 pupils and the plans are not designed to expand its intake.
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