A new school for Wokingham?

The government has imposed targets for many more homes in Wokingham Borough. The Council has had to decide on where these could go to comply, and has pointed out it will also need a new secondary school to provide the school places the new developments require. This is costed at £80m during the next Parliament.

During this election I have been pointing out that the present government has not found the money for this school, and has made no promise to find it in due course. Given the government’s plans to slash capital spending after the Election if they get back in I think it very unlikely they will find so much money for such a project. I do not wish electors to think that a new school has been promised by Labour or is an immediate realistic aim, given the state of the public finances.

If the Conservatives get into government they will change planning requirements and leave Wokingham free of regional targets to increase housing numbers. My advice to the Council in such a situation is to cut the numbers of new homes and cut the pressure on school places. A Conservative government is unlikely to suddenly find £80m of capital that the last government was unable to guarantee, in the next three years when the overriding need is to cut the budget deficit.

Promoted by Christine Hill on behalf of John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU

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4 Comments

  1. Alan Wheatley
    Posted May 3, 2010 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    One thing that would reduce the need for capital projects would be to curb population growth, ideally halt it. This would also help cut unemployment.

  2. Matt
    Posted May 3, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Correct me if I'm wrong but as I understood the Council's core strategy the school is a condition of planning permission for the houses at the Arborfield site. There is no need for any government funding.

    Reply: I think it is optimistic to think S 106 money can provide a school, new roads and the rest of the infrastructure neded for such a development. There will be costs for the taxpayer/central government.

  3. Posted May 5, 2010 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    A new school for Wokingham? Why not stop the closure of Ryeish Green School and protect the future of the children of Spencers Wood, Three Mile Cross, Shinfield and the surrounding areas.

    With so much development going on around the Ryeish Green area, are you and Wokingham B.C. telling us that there isn't a need for a secondary school in the area?

    Ryeish Green is a viable, successful school and one that should not have had an axe wielded towards it at all.

    Before looking to build new schools elsewhere, why not look at saving existing ones that are needed by existing communities.

    Reply: The number of children applying halved, and most of those who did apply came from Reading, not Wokingham. For that reason WBC decided on closure. I saw both sides of the argument. There was then a Council election in the local area, where Lib Dems and Labour withdrew their candidate in favour of a Keep open the School candidate. The electorate voted in a close the school Conservative, so there was a democratic judgement on the policy. If the Save the School candidate had won I would have added my voice to those wanting the School to remain open. I supported the majority view, which I think was the right answer. If the community had wanted to keep the school more would have sought places there for their children and more would have voted for it when that was the key election issue.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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