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Green light for new mobile classroom

By Cheadle Post and Times  |  Posted: August 25, 2014

By Post & Times

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A VILLAGE primary school has been given the go ahead to build a mobile classroom to help expand its nursery – despite objections from the local parish council and neighbours.

William Amory Primary School, in Blythe Bridge, hopes to double its nursery capacity to meet Government demands to provide free childcare for youngsters aged two and over.

The school has already seen the number of pupils on its register increase by just over a quarter to 170 in the past three years.

Staff say building a mobile classroom on the playground off the Uttoxeter Road entrance will bring the number of nursery children up from 24 to 48.

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But some residents claim the design of the unit is out of character with the surrounding area and existing Victorian school building.

Forsbrook Parish Council, which opposed the plans, also raised concerns about pupil safety and the loss of 'valuable playground space'.

Although council planning officers did not uphold the safety concerns, they did agree the design 'would have a detrimental impact'.

Case officer Alfia Cox, therefore, recommended temporary planning permission for five years to allow the situation to be reviewed.

Her report said: "This would provide an opportunity for the applicant to review the alternative locations, their contractual arrangements with the school or secure funding for a more permanent solution."

Addressing the issues at a Staffordshire County Council planning committee meeting yesterday, headteacher Bruce Wilken said the facility exists to 'serve the community'.

He added: "We need to provide an extra year's worth of children on our campus. We used to provide from three to 11 and now are going to have to provide from two to 11.

"It was suggested we build an extension but even if we were to combine our money together, we wouldn't have half the amount we need.

"This will help us to provide for the future generations."

Councillors voted to support the proposal, with one member against.

Councillor Ron Clarke said there was clearly a need for more schools to be built.

He added: "I can remember 14 years ago we were closing schools because we didn't have the numbers, and now we don't have the space."

Councillor Trish Rowlands said: "It seems to me we want to provide more and more buildings to put children into without considering the impact of the space outside that they need."

Speaking after the meeting, Helen Bickerton, chairman of the Care and Fun Club which runs the nursery, said she hoped the unit would be in place in time for January's intake.

She said: "If this wasn't approved, it would have meant we have to decline extra two to four-year-olds.

"This could have threatened our sustainability long-term."

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