Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, has expressed his delight that the Planning Inspectorate has rejected Taylor Wimpey’s appeal to build 193 new homes on the former Elvian School site.
Alok, who has backed the West Reading Education Network’s plans to build a school on the site, has supported community attempts to block the housing developer’s proposals in favour of a new secondary school. Earlier in the year the West Reading Education Network (WREN) was granted permission by the Department for Education to open a new Free School in central west Reading and the Elvian School site is the group’s preferred site for the school.
In rejecting Taylor Wimpey’s appeal the Inspectorate noted that the Taylor Wimpey scheme itself was “of poor quality design that does not constitute sustainable development and would detract from the character and appearance of the locality”. The Inspectorate’s appeal ruling also made clear that until there was greater clarity on the scale of secondary school provision required in the local area, it would be inappropriate to allow residential development on the former Elvian School site that would prevent some form of secondary education provision there.
Alok Sharma said: “I am absolutely delighted to welcome this common-sense decision and I congratulate WREN and everyone locally and nationally who has supported our efforts to see the former Elvian school site used for education. Having now worked closely with the WREN team for many months I just want to reiterate how brilliant they all are and their enthusiasm, vision and professionalism has been unfaltering throughout, as they seek to put together a school providing outstanding education for our local Reading children.”
Alok continued: “I very much hope that as a result of this decision the owners of the former Elvian school site will now sit down to a meaningful discussion with WREN and the team about the future use of the site.”
Photo: Alok Sharma with WREN team