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Delight over decision to build new school

A new school and 69 new homes in Barns Green have been approved by councillors. The
decision follows negotiations between Horsham District Council, Berkeley Homes and West Sussex County Council over affordable homes in the new development. The proposal was approved with a large majority.

The application was deferred in April to allow the council to see if further financial arrangements could be put together to enable six shared-ownership homes to be included as part of the package.

The plans, which now include six affordable homes, were approved by Horsham District Council’s Development Control North Committee on Tuesday.

Itchingfield primary school is currently split over two sites and the new £4.2m development will consolidate the school onto one.

Simon Simmons, headmaster of Itchingfield Primary School, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that
the  project  is  going  ahead,  as  is everyone else who sat up in the gallery. There’s been a huge amount of village support and I would like to thank everyone who supported the application.

“It secures the future of the school and we can take our already good practices into a state-of-the-art building.”

However, Cllr Dr David Holmes, Lib Dem, Horsham Park ward, said: “Had the application been refused we might have had some sense and the developer might have offered the county council £3m towards the £4m cost of the new school. The county could not have refused such a gift, even though they will say now that they would have.

“Then there would have been £1m available, which could have provided a further 20 affordable homes.

“It is now going to be even harder to get developers to provide affordable housing.

“I am pleased that Barns Green will get their school but I am concerned about the consequences.”

Itchingfield Primary School is amending its curriculum so the children can watch the development of the new site and take advantage of the opportunity to learn about the development.

Cllr Liz Kitchen, Chair of the Development Control North Committee, said: “This was a very good result and a better one as a result of the changes negotiated since Development Control North Committee’s April meeting.

“We have permitted an imaginative package of development that will deliver a much needed new primary school and a quality housing scheme that will now also include shared ownership affordable homes for local people.”

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