Chichester Free School unveils plans for its temporary location

THE future of a new school now rests in the hands of the planners, leaving parents hoping they will soon know the fate of their children’s education.

Organisers of Chichester Free School, which already has a head teacher and places for 210 children, have applied to turn The Courtyard in Vinnetrow Business Park, Runcton, into its new premises.

Helen Humphry, project leader, said she was ‘over the moon’ about the plans for the new site.

“The site is only going to be there temporarily – about two years or so,” she said.

“This is the one thing parents wanted to know about, as this is the first real thing they can see.

“There is a warehouse which we could convert for a sports hall and a playground which would be perfect for the children.

“We are cautiously optimistic about the proposals. There is no reason to think this isn’t going to get through. Providing it all goes well, we will be hosting open days for parents to come and have a look around.

“We are really pleased, it is a great site.”

Shona Etherington, from Chichester, said: “I’m very happy to have an idea of where the school will be as it has made me so nervous not knowing where my children will be going.”

Bognor resident Denise Simmonds supported the application but raised concerns about the children’s safety on their journey to school.

“The children will be entering and leaving the site at peak times,” she said.

“A well-lit path from Runcton to the site will be vital for students. I believe a traffic light crossing would be required to ensure the safest crossing. The road is too busy and fast as speed limits are not adhered to, and it will be unsafe for children to cross, especially in the winter.”

There are currently no plans to change the existing pedestrian access to the site.

A spokeswoman for the school said they were currently looking into buses and car-sharing options and said the permanent site would not be far away.

The premises, previously used as offices, will have seven classrooms and a school hall which will double up as a dining room and space for drama and PE lessons.

The planning application also includes plans to build a four-metre-high fence around a paddock, which would be used as a playing field.