PROPOSALS for a secondary school on land adjacent to Egley Road look certain to go ahead after receiving cross-party council support.
An application for the construction of a permanent home for Hoe Valley School has been submitted to Woking Borough Council for consideration, with chiefs expressing their desire to see the bid approved. The school will initially open in September this year at a temporary site in the Woking Leisure Centre coach park, where it is planned to stay for two years.
Council Leader John Kingsbury cited demand for places as a major factor in the process. He explained: “In recent years, Woking has experienced a significant increase in demand for secondary school places, with Surrey County Council projecting that Woking will require an additional 90 seats by 2017, equivalent to three school forms, and a further 210 school places by 2021.
“These plans, if approved, will not only help meet the continued growth of our borough and the future aspirations of our young people, but will also provide additional leisure facilities for the wider community.
“By working closely with Claerwyn Hamilton-Wilkes, Lynne O’Reilly and their colleagues, who have led the proposals for the new school, and with Surrey County Council, we can ensure that our young people will have access to places that are vitally important to the continued sustainability of our borough.”
His words were echoed by Liberal Democrat Leader for Woking, Councillor Will Forster, who argued that an alternative location for the facility – which will comprise two teaching wings, a main hall, dining and reception areas and sports field – was not forthcoming.
“It is clear that there is an overwhelming need for a new secondary school in South Woking, and both the borough and county council believe that Egley Road is the only viable location,” he said.
“As county councillor for the Mayford area, I am fully aware of the concerns of local residents, yet I am confident that these will be addressed through the rigorous planning process.”
The submitted plans would create a state-of-the-art secondary school in South Woking, featuring modern, purpose-built teaching and leisure facilities.
For use by the local community and school, and operated by Woking Borough Council, the leisure complex will include a five-badminton court sports hall, fitness gym and studios, full athletics facility with eight-lane track, three multi-use games areas, three five-a-side 3G sports pitches, two grass pitches and shared car parking.
A public exhibition, which attracted more than 170 people, was held in May for future students, parents, neighbours, residents and the wider general public to give their initial feedback on the plans.
Lynne O’Reilly, Chairman of Governors at Hoe Valley School, said: “I would like to thank everybody for their constructive feedback received during the public exhibition.
“We were delighted to receive so many positive responses which reflect our aspirations for the project.
“If consent is granted, Hoe Valley School will offer an outstanding local option for the children and young people we aim to serve in South Woking, and means many of our students would be able to walk or cycle to school.
“As well as a brand new school with its state-of-the-art learning environment, our students will also benefit from access to the extensive leisure facilities on-site.
“While it has been a long process, we are delighted to have finally submitted our planning application and I would like to thank those parents and local organisations who have supported our vision.”
Hoe Valley is a community secondary school with four forms of entry and will include a sixth form.
Subject to approval, it is expected the school will move to a permanent site adjacent to Egley Road in September 2017, where it will have capacity for 840 students across seven year groups.
The school will be financed by the Education Funding Agency with the community leisure facilities financed by Woking Borough Council.
To find out more, and to see the plans, visit www.woking.gov.uk/planning/publicaccess and simply search for PLAN/2015/0703.