A NEW nursery could be built in Wantage to provide a better learning environment for children.

Vale Academy Trust, which runs St Nicholas C of E Primary School in East Challow, near Wantage, wants to build a self-contained, single storey building with two classrooms on an unused area of the school grounds and has submitted an application to the Vale of White Horse district council, the planning authority.

A design and access statement prepared by Quattro Design Architects on behalf of the trust said: “The current school, along with its recently opened, internal nursery space, has very limited room and at present cannot fully provide its children with the best possible learning environment.

“Having reviewed all options, to minimise disruption to daily school operations, a new separate teaching building to government standards is required.

“The scale and design of new building is appropriate to the site context, site constraints and respects the character and appearance of the location and its neighbourhood.”

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The trust said: “The rationale to build two new classrooms on the site is primarily to improve and enhance the education experience for the children who attend the school.

“It will reduce pressure elsewhere in the school and free up space that can be used for other functions such as small group rooms, library and meeting spaces which at present the school lacks.

“In addition the school has recently opened a new nursery provision to support the parents in the local community.

“This proposal will enable the school to provide a dedicated, modern and well equipped nursery unit that will give the young children starting nursery the best possible start to their education.”

However, some neighbours have commented on a possible increase in noise.

Sarah Hare, who lives on Sarajac Avenue, said: “Our property shares a boundary with the proposed play area for the new nursery school.

“We recognise the need for the nursery and associated facilities, however during lockdown this area was used by the school as a play area for some of the children and the noise levels were unacceptably high rendering our garden unusable during these times.

“We request that you consider remedial actions, such as higher and sound deadening fencing at our boundary to minimise the noise level.”

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Joe Smith, senior tree officer at the council, raised concerns about the adequate protection of the trees on the site.

He said: “It is recommended that two tree protection plans are produced. One for during construction works of the building - this is essential to ensure this tree is protected satisfactorily during the main construction phase, when larger machines will be present on site.

“Then once all large construction machinery has left site, a separate landscaping tree protection plan should be provided for the landscaping phase.”

The district council is expected to make a decision by August 25.


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This story was written by Anna Colivicchi, she joined the team this year and covers health stories for the Oxfordshire papers. 

Get in touch with her by emailing: Anna.colivicchi@newsquest.co.uk

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