A THREE-MONTH deadline has been imposed by councillors to resolve the future of Yapton Primary School.
Arun District Council’s development control committee unanimously introduced the timescale to enable talks to take place about new housing in the village. The proposed development will create extra demands on the North End Road school. Its current site is too small to cope with all the additional pupils likely to be living in its catchment area.
The land needed to expand is in the control of Granite Gate, which wants to build 70 homes on the adjoining three hectares at Stakers Farm.
But the 1,450sq m it has offered to the school is said to be too small when the potential pupils in all the 1,000 homes set to be built in Yapton in the next two decades are taken into account.
The alternative is to keep the present school and build a second school amid the largest of the intended developments.
But the committee’s members sided with Yapton councillors when they opposed that option at their meeting on Wednesday.
The school’s requirements to go from its current 1.5 form entry with 270 children to a 2.5 form entry need to be worked out by West Sussex County Council.
Councillors were also concerned Southern Water had objected to the 70 homes because the equipment to treat wastewater in the area was inadequate.
Cllr Stephen Haymes (C, Yapton) said: “We have to defer these plans. We have got to sort out this problem with the school. It has got to be done first.
“The county council must know how many children from the planned 1,000 homes are likely to be going to the primary school and how much land they will need for them. There has to be a national formula for that. It should not take three months to work that out. It should be easy.”
Cllr Paul Wells (LD, Hotham) said: “Three months should be satisfactory for the county council and water company to come back to us with the answers we want. We can make an informed decision at that time.”
The committee was told by the parish council’s planning committee chairman, Cllr Vicky Newman: “If this application is not deferred today, the future stability of Yapton parish will be placed at risk.
“Two primary schools in one village would be divisive and drive a wedge between the existing and new communities rather than drawing them together through the village primary school.”
Lisa Jackson, of rival developer Landlink Estates, also called for all the housing plans for Yapton to be considered as a whole.
But Granite Gate planning agent Chris Barker said Arun had identified its land as suitable for housing and sustainable.
“Our proposal does not require the expansion of the school on its own. The county council accepted that position in the consultations,” he said.
Arun group head of planning Neil Crowther said the committee should not defer a plan for talks about matters it did not control.