BUILDING delays at the new primary school at Tadpole Farm mean pupils won’t be able to start there in September.
Instead they will be taught for at least the first term at the Redhouse Community Centre – which hasn’t been built yet either.
The school was due to be part of the 1,700 home development in North Swindon but was moved forward because of a desperate shortage of school places.
But because of the bad weather, an access road to the site from Tadpole Lane, was not completed in time so the school will not be ready.
As a result, Section 106 money will be used to build a community centre in Redhouse which will house the school until the school is finished, hopefully by January 2015. When the school moves into its intended site a committee will be set up to run the community centre.
Council Leader David Renard (Con, Haydon Wick) said: “When we found out that the weather had been so bad it had put the building of the access road back we had to consider a number of other options. We looked at the numbers and it is still obvious we need to build another school in North Swindon.
“We have wanted to build a community centre in Redhouse for some time and this has proved to be the best option.
“It will be funded from section 106 money so will not cost the council any more money while giving the community something after. We had looked at putting temporary classrooms at Redhouse but it would have cost us about £350,000 and left us with nothing.”
Planning permission has already been granted for the community centre, which will be built on land opposite the village centre. It will house about 40 pupils. Work should start next month.
The school will be run by the Diocese of Bristol. Director of education John Swainston said: “While obviously not where we would have wanted to be, this is the next best thing and we are happy this has been resolved.
“Our biggest concern was that we would not have been able to house a nursery but we will be able to.”
There has been some uncertainty over the Redhouse Community Centre after the land was purchased from developers Crest at a reduced rate following negotiations with the ward councillors. Just over £850,000, obtained from planners, is going to be used to build the centre.
Coun Vera Tomlinson (Con, St Andrews) said: “In the long-term this will be a massive benefit to the community.
“There was always likely to be a risk there would be a delay and the weather we have had has made that certain.
“Fortunately, the community centre is ideal for the school and permission has already been granted.”