THE NEW Chichester Free School is ‘on track’ to open in September despite opposition and traffic fears.
Plans for the free school to open its doors to its temporary home in Vinnetrow Business Park, Runcton hit a hurdle after the Highways Agency expressed fears about traffic.
Options put forward by the Highways Agency (HA) to tackle additional traffic caused by future school drop offs include ‘making Vinnetrow Road one way, away from the A27 at the A27 end’.
“The figures supplied by the school suggest that it will significantly add to traffic congestion at the Bognor Road roundabout,” a HA spokesperson said.
“The school has made some suggestions which we are now discussing with West Sussex County Council. We are working with the school to find a way forward which will allow the school to open as planned in September.”
Louise Chater, clerk to North Mundham Parish Council said: “We foresee impacts not only on Vinnetrow Road, but on other local roads which will be used to access the school.”
Chichester District Council will decide whether or not to grant planning permission for the school after the HA and county council have finalised their responses to the planning application.
But Helen Humphry, the school’s project leader, said plans for Chichester Free School are ‘forging ahead’ despite an onslaught of objection letters from North Mundham Parish Council and Runcton residents.
“We don’t want parents to be worried or put off by the comments on the planning website,” she said.
“Things really are moving on. We have taken on 11 teachers now and they are all employed.
“We have got some induction days planned so children can meet their teachers in preparation for September, and we have sent out another round of offer letters to pupils on the waiting list.
“We are also holding out for some good news about our permanent site.”
The school has now got a uniform, which is grey with red piping, with kilts for the girls. The site is only a temporary measure until the permanent site – which remains a mystery – is secured.