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School expansion could benefit Yateley community

Yateley Manor plans to redevelop the derelict St Peter's school site and the expansion could include a village hall

Stephen Gorys talks with a member of public about the plans for Yateley Manor School

A new community hall is among plans proposed as part of a school expansion project.

Yateley Manor wants to redevelop the former St Peter’s Primary School site, which has been derelict for some time.

Proposals to revamp the Sixties property behind Yateley Manor in Reading Road and turn it into a music, art and foreign language block have gone on public display.

Some residents and parents said they were pleased the vacant building could be put back to use to prevent it from becoming a target for vandalism.

Councillor David Simpson, who represents Yateley at Hampshire County Council, said: “The plans seem fairly un-contentious as they do not seem to be planning anything for the exterior of the building.

“The only point I would say refers to renting out the hall as a village hall.

“Hopefully the way they insulate the building will cause no noise at all, but during the summer months, people living nearby may get annoyed by car doors slamming late at night or noise from open windows.”

In August 2012, Rob Williams, headteacher of Yateley Manor, announced that the school had acquired the St Peter’s School site. Following the closure and amalgamation of St Peter’s and Yateley Infant School, a new primary school opened in September 2010.

Named Cranford Park Primary School, the new school moved into state of the art facilities in Cranford Park Drive in September 2011.

Mr Williams described the new plans as ‘exciting’.

He said: “It will give space for the children to develop and will put the creative and performing arts on the map more. It should also ease traffic show as all staff car parking will be at the back of the school instead of the front. I want the local community to benefit from the development too.

“We already block out our drama studios, sports hall and swimming pool to the public.

The new community hall would include kitchen facilities and could be used by the public evenings and weekends. During the school day, pupils would use the hall as a music auditorium and gymnasium.

According to Brandon Ashton, school bursar, there would be cloakrooms in both buildings to store coats and boots and the school timetable would be adjusted to ensure pupils are not going back and forth outside.

Expected to cost the school around £2.5million, the refurbished building could open as early as summer 2015.

Stephen Gorys, chairman for the board of governors, said: “Hampshire County Council purchased the building from us 50 years ago as a result of a compulsory purchase order, so we are coming full circle.

“Not only will the site look better, it will be really energy efficient. We have reached full capacity in our current building.”

Property developers Kier Construction is working on behalf of Yateley Manor School.

Paul Cross, senior design and build coordinator for Kier, said: “Making use of St Peter’s School will free up some space in the main building of Yateley Manor.

“The main external shape of the St Peter’s building will remain the same.”

Following the public consultation, the school will review all comments and liaise with Hart District Council before submitting a formal planning application.

 
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