Christchurch 'greenbelt school' approved by council

Proposed site for new west Christchurch school
Image caption Parents are said to be "delighted" about the decision

A new primary school could be built on greenbelt land after councillors gave the controversial scheme the go-ahead.

Dorset County Council approved plans to build the school, which could provide places for 420 children in the Christchurch area.

Parents are said to be "delighted", but the plans still need approval by Communities Secretary Greg Clark.

However, some residents see the development as a "major incursion" on greenbelt land.

'Painful, long process'

Primary school places in the area have been oversubscribed for the past three years, resulting in parents forming a support group to appeal for a new school.

Currently 90 pupils are housed in mobile classrooms on the Twynham Secondary School site but they could be moved to the new site in Marsh Lane by September 2017.

Image caption Two oversubscribed primary schools in Christchurch led to the erection of Twynham Primary School, made up of mobile classrooms on a secondary school site

Member of Christchurch Schools Action Group Nick Smith said: "I'm delighted. It's been a very painful, long process over the last three years to get to this point for everyone concerned, including the council."

The father of two has a daughter at Twynham Primary School and his three-year-old son will soon be attending infant school.

He added: "It's stage two of three - obviously, we have to get the secretary of state to agree."

Council cabinet member for children and young people Toni Coombs said: "We are delighted that the committee's decision will enable us to provide permanent primary school places for the children of Christchurch into the future."

But Marsh Lane resident Steve Roberts said: "The land is green belt, the development is major incursion, the land is floodplain, residents are concerned about building on the floodplain."

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