New plan for infant school will be put under the miscroscope

Parents and residents concerned about plans to expand Trinity CE/Methodist Primary School in Buckshaw Village

Parents and residents concerned about plans to expand Trinity CE/Methodist Primary School in Buckshaw Village

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Controversial plans to build a large extension to a village school are nearing reality.

Lancashire County Council is consulting local authorities in Chorley and South Ribble over a planning application for a purpose-built separate infant building for Trinity CE/Methodist Primary School in Buckshaw Village.

The school is being expanded to cope with demand for places and because there is not room to increase the existing site.

It has almost doubled in size since it opened in 2010.

However, the proposal has been steeped in controversy.

Following a public consultation exercise last year parents called for a new school to be built in the village.

Lancashire County Council had already secured land on the former Royal Ordnance Factory site for a new school, which was intended to cater for growing demand in the expanding village between Leyland and Chorley.

Many feared that a split site school would cause problems with those parents and carers who had to drop youngsters off at both the infant and junior buildings.

They said at the time that the village would be better served by current pupils remaining at the combined infant and junior school on one site and overspill catered for at a separate school.

One parent of a child already at the school said at the time that parents feel “let down” and added: “Buckshaw residents have been massively let down by Lancashire County Council in regards to the planning and provision of primary school places.

“They knew that around 3,000 family homes were being built here over the last decade, with 1000 more to come.”

Despite calls for a rethink over a new school, and objections from parents, the education authority received a 130-signature petition opposing the plan as well as a letter from Chorley Council and South Ribble MP Seema Kennedy .

The MP supported calls for a new primary school rather than Trinity.

However, approval was granted last year for the school, in Unity Place, to accept an extra 30 pupils from September.

The number of pupils admitted to reception class will increase each year from 60 to 90, resulting in the overall capacity rising from 420 to 630.

It was decided to expand the current facility on a split site rather than create a new school.

The new building,in Brookwood Way, will be built in two phases.

It will have nine classrooms, three for reception pupils and six for infants – all on one level, and the building will have the capacity to accommodate up to 270 four to seven year olds.

The plans show that the early years (reception) and infants will have their own separate play areas.

An outdoor classroom and a soccer pitch are also proposed along with suitable fencing and landscaping to make the area secure.

The proposal also includes cycle and scooter stores as well as staff car parking 
facilities.

Buckshaw currently straggles Leyland, which is in South Ribble borough, and both Euxton and Whittle-le-Woods parishes in Chorley.

It will eventually transfer to Chorley Borough Council.