Legal action threat after Heights Primary School site consultation closes

Mapledurham playing fields Image copyright Graham Horn
Image caption Mapledurham playing fields was among five sites in the public consultation

Campaigners have vowed legal action to prevent a new free school being built on public playing fields in Reading.

Mapledurham playing fields was chosen from five possible sites for The Heights Primary School in Caversham after a public consultation.

More than 3,000 of the 4,376 responses to the online survey selected it as their first preference.

Mapledurham Playing Fields Action Group insists any development would contravene the fields' legal status.

It said the site should not have been included as an option and would pursue legal action if the development goes ahead.

The Heights Primary School, which has 65 pupils, currently operates from temporary buildings in Gosbrook Road, Caversham.

Daniel Pagella, of the school trust, said the result of the poll run by Reading Borough Council showed "a clear expression of people's wishes".

'Fighting fund'

The Education Funding Agency is reviewing the responses and will announce its next steps in July.

The other four potential sites were Bugs Bottom, Dysons Farm, Albert Road Recreation Ground and Highridge.

Gordon Watt from the Mapledurham Playing Fields Action Group said he felt the majority of responses indicated nobody wants to see a school built near them.

"The land has been left under the 2011 Charities Act for the provision of a recreation ground, not a school," he said.

"We're confident it won't be able to go ahead, but if it does, we will challenge it through the courts."

A "fighting fund" has been set up to pay for legal expenses, he added.

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