Parents show support for Chichester Free School site application

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CHICHESTER Free School organisers have called for the community to look ‘more altruistically’ on plans for a site in Runcton.

Helen Humphry, from the free school, said: “We want to raise the level of education and choice. The site has got to be somewhere and it is a shame some people can’t understand.”

Although the fate of school lies in the hands of the planners, parents have continued to show their support for the proposed site.

“We have had unrelenting support from parents who absolutely want to make this work,” said Helen.

The free school team has applied for planning permission to change The Courtyard, in Vinnetrow Business Park, Runcton, into classrooms to house more than 200 pupils.

Chichester District Council has been inundated with letters of support from parents whose children have been awarded places in the school.

Chichester resident Debbie Parker said: “I have two children with places for Chichester Free School and very much in favour of it going ahead.

“The site is the perfect place for a school. Fingers crossed it all goes ahead.”

Kerry Barnes from Selsey said the school site was ‘perfect’.

“As a parent I will be happy to share the drive to reduce congestion,” she said.

“The school is giving more choice for parents in the area, benefitting many people and should be supported for all the hard work from all concerned.”

Gareth Wright from Hunston said the application’s approval was ‘a crucial first step in Chichester Free School becoming a reality’ 
and the area was in ‘desperate need’ of an additional
school.

Parents had the opportunity to meet the head teacher of the school, Guy Martin, at an open event on Tuesday evening.

“Guy enjoyed the event. It was refreshing to talk to parents about what they wanted, and reminds us why we are doing it,” said Helen.

“We’re feeling very motivated.”

The school, which is set to open in September, has already faced opposition from North Mundham Parish Council who have raised fears over the safety of students.

Nicola Shilling, who lives in Vinnetrow Road, raised several complaints, including fears over road safety, school travel and the impact on the environment and highways.

Helen said the county council’s Highways department has delayed the application, but a decision should be made by June.