City Council calls on County to meet Whiteley primary school needs

Winchester City Council is calling on Hampshire County Council to ensure that the needs of the whole community are considered in making a decision on the provision of a new primary school in Whiteley.

Whiteley’s primary school has proved too small for the new development, resulting in up to 40 children having to make long journeys to neighbouring areas. The County Council is now considering how to remedy this situation. Although finding a suitable site has proved difficult, the City Council has been actively co-operating in the site search.

Cllr Therese Evans, City Council Portfolio Holder for Community Services and Life-Long Learning, said:

"Both the local members, Councillors Brenda Hatch and Caroline Watts, feel as I do that the County Council must ensure there is a local solution to the problem of insufficient school places. It should not be necessary to make Whiteley children travel to schools out of Whiteley. It is much better for the local community to have schools within a sensible distance instead of imposing additional travel on families. We recognise it may be difficult for the County Council to identify a suitable site, but the City Council is ready to consider a sensible proposal if and when this is brought forward."

Whiteley Parish Council has also stressed the importance of the situation to the local community.

Parish Council Chairman Don Bates said:

"The location of a school is important because it provides a base for so much social and community activity for both parents and children. Those children who have to travel out of Whiteley receive a good education, but Whiteley misses out because those schools are at the centre of another community."

Winchester City Council has made its position known to the County Council through comments on the School Organisation Plan which recognised the deficiency in provision, but did not identify a preferred solution. The City Council has expressed a willingness to assist in the identification of suitable locations and is waiting for a positive proposal to be brought forward by the County Council.