Bucks Free Press 26 September 2001

School's sale plan turned down

By Matthew Harris

A top girls' school has slammed a decision preventing it from selling off a section of land to fund a massive redevelopment plan.

Beaconsfield High School announced it wanted to sell off part of its playing field to CALA Homes earlier this year, and the plans received support from Beaconsfield Town Council.

The sale would have generated a seven-figure sum which would have been used to build a new classroom block, a sports hall and a performing arts area with a recording studio.

But the plans were thrown out at South Bucks District Council by just one vote after Cllr Ken Dolan (Con, Burnham Beeches), chairman of the planning committee, used his casting vote.

Penny Castagnoli, headteacher at Beaconsfield High School, vowed to appeal against the decision.
She said: "I am so disappointed.
"We have wanted to replace the temporary classrooms for so many years and we believe this was a one-off opportunity.
"We will appeal because our girls deserve better than this."

David Finlayson, chairman of the governors, said: "We have consulted widely with everyone involved in the school and have been delighted at the level of support we have received from pupils, parents, our community, the Local Education Authority, the MP and the Secretary of State for Education, who had recently given our plans her full blessing.
"We will be appealing in an aim to gain the only outstanding approval permission from South Bucks District Council."

Beaconsfield Town Councillor Paul Henry (Lib Dem, South Ward) slammed the decision.
He said: "It is extremely unfortunate that the district council has made this decision.
"There will be a lot of disappointed children and parents and this causes the school a major funding problem.
"This is one of the best schools in the county and this will do them no good at all."

But Cllr Dolan defended his decision and said: "There has always been one thing I hold close to my heart, and that is if you go against the local plan, that could go against you at a later date.
"It was a very difficult decision. Beaconsfield High is a very good school and we would like it to continue to be so.
"If you make exceptions to the plan, you find other cases in the future that can require you to deviate from it."

Is anyone else opposing CALA Homes' developments ?

The Telephone House Neighbours Association informs on CALA Homes (South) Development :
Telephone House, Church Road / York Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1