‘Block of flats would overlook first school’

PARENTS have launched a campaign to prevent 20 flats being built next to Heene First School.

W13160H14-SchoolCampaign Heene First School Campaign. Parent at Heene First School are campaigning agaist a proposed block of flats at the back of the school where a school extension was to be built. Pictured are parents outside the building. Worthing. SUS-140328-174729001

An application has been submitted to demolish the Jolly Brewers public house in Clifton Road, Worthing, and replace it with a three to four-storey block of flats, complete with parking and landscaping.

But parents say that the land would be perfect for the school to expand, to create both classroom and outdoor space.

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They launched a petition last week which collected 130 signatures in less than 24 hours and now plan to enlist the help of MP Peter Bottomley.

Lisa Ottway, a mother-of-three and childminder, of Elizabeth Road, is leading the campaign.

She said: “This is a very small school already and it is turning into a primary school in 2015, which the parents are quite concerned about.

“We think that the area would be fantastic for the school to extend into.

“We do not know if the school could buy that land but it seems like a great opportunity.

“We do not want a block of flats overlooking the playground, it is already completely surrounded by buildings as it is a massively built-up area, so having another block of flats will make it feel smaller still and also block out further light.

“Further housing in this area will also bring a further squeeze on school places as it is the only school in the town centre.

“I do not believe that there is a need for more housing in this area but there is a need for this school to expand.

“We want our children to go to a school that is as good as it can be.

“There are going to be a lot more children in attendance from 2015 and the school needs room for temporary classrooms, for the extra children and space for the 11-year-olds that will be coming in.

“It is cramped as it is, so the ideal would be for this planning application not to go ahead.”

Parent Justine Odell added: “I think the council is pushing through the changes with primary schools with no thought about playground provision and size of classrooms at existing schools.

“This site would be perfect for Heene School to extend on and the children need that space so badly.”

Heene First School head teacher Dianne Bonthrone refused to comment.