The Heights Free School

Reading Borough Council is running a consultation exercise on behalf of the Education Funding Agency to help to identify a community backed site for the Heights Primary School. Locations being considered are shown on the map below, which also shows the distance of each site from the School's Datapoint, plus the proportion of pupils living in each region, based on Census data from 2011. (The Datapoint is based on positive respondents to the School’s initial survey of potential pupils.)

 

Source of annotations to the map: 2011 Census
  Primary age in 2014 Free School Pupils
anticipated in 2015
West of A4074 incl. Woodcote Rd 151 (17.6%) 15 (30%)
East of A4074 plus Kidmore Road 410 (47.7%) 20 (40%)
East of Kidmore Road 299 (34.7%) 4 (8%)
Outside Catchment Area   11 (22%)
Total 860 50

An Open Public Meeting concerning the future site of the school has been arranged for Wednesday 25th March at Rivermead Leisure Centre, Richfield Avenue, Reading, starting at 7pm. This meeting will be independently chaired and will be an opportunity for residents to hear the arguments for and against each of the sites. Residents who wish to attend are asked to register their interest in advance to help plan for numbers. You can register your interest at http://beta.reading.gov.uk/schoolsite.

Summary of the Sites

High Ridge, Upper Warren Avenue (UWA) - chosen and bought by EFA

Site 1 acre steep slope. 25% protected woodland, near south of catchment. Walk 0.8km minimal play area; play on MPF hard to manage, any fencing contentious. Does not meet DfE guidelines. Poor road access, no bus no pavements 80% of pupils to cross A4074, highly disruptive to neighbourhood. Covenant 1 private dwelling only. Strong local opposition to Planning consent

Shipnells Farm - Hemdean Valley (Bugs Bottom) - owned by RBC

Open space near the original school reservation in 32 acres of unimproved pasture: Major Landscape Feature & Strategic Public Open Space; adjacent compensatory land available on the S. Oxon border. Access from Hunters Chase/Tredegar. Good site for a primary school in natural surroundings. Walk 0.75km on good paths, away from main roads, by road fair. Some displacement of wildlife and dog walking.

Albert Road Recreation Ground - Trust No. 292292 - RBC Trustee

Site: adequate open level space with car parking; would displace long established and popular tennis, bowls, croquet and dog walking area. Might coexist with children's playground. Walk 0.2km very good, on bus route good roads away from A4074. Loss of scarce public open space. Possible relocation of sports facilities to MPF would put RBC Trustees in conflict with themselves.

Mapledurham Playing Fields (MPF) - Trust No. 304328 - RBC Trustee

Site 25 acres, open level, well used football pitches and pavilion, tennis, basketball, playground, dog walking and orchard. Walk 0.4km, fair but across the congested A4074 for 80%; by road either off A4074 or side roads dependent on build location. A 3.5 acre fenced site would be barred to residents, visually intrusive and impinge on many other activities. Loss of RBC Strategic Open Space, with little prospect of suitable compensatory land nearby. Part Local Wildlife Site.

Dysons Wood Farm - North of Gravel Hill by Kidmore Road/Shepherds Lane

Ample open field site on the north edge of catchment, just in S. Oxon: available, but change of use from agriculture. Walk 0.7km fair; by road, away from A4074, but would need a roundabout at Shepherds Lane/Kidmore Road junction plus off-road drop off and parking. Plenty of room for activities and expansion; no loss of open space to RBC. Good natural surroundings, few houses close by. No disruption, loss or impingement on organised sports or current users.

Weighted Alternatives

Click here to see a a numerical assessment of the five sites under consideration for "The Heights" Free School as an aid to comparison. Each factor is given an overall weighting, and its relevance is judged for each site. The sum of these scores adds up to a total score. The purpose is to concentrate objectively on what is important in providing a first class school for the children without detriment to the Community.