Controversial plans to expand Parsonage Farm school, Rainham, to be abandoned

Parents outside Parsonage Farm school in Rainham last year opposing expansion plans

Parents outside Parsonage Farm school in Rainham last year opposing expansion plans - Credit: Archant

Havering Council is looking to abandon controversial plans to expand a primary school.

The council said it was “proposing to revoke a previous decision” to expand Parsonage Farm primary school, Farm Road, Rainham, from three to four forms of entry in a letter sent to parents and in a public notice.

The planning application, which was first submitted nearly two years ago, would have increased the size of the school from 630 pupils to 840, with 120 pupils in Reception.

The notice sent by Havering Council to the school states: “The council is of the view that circumstances have so altered since approval was given that implementation of the proposal would be inappropriate and is therefore seeking to be relieved of the duty to implement in this respect.”

The school’s enlargement was expected to come into effect from September 1 but parents have been opposing the plans ever since they were proposed.

The council added it would be exploring alternatives options to deliver additional school places in the area.

Rainham and Wennington Cllr David Durant welcomed the news.

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“Expanding the school to four forms of entry is an expansion too far,” he told the Recorder.

“Even if that was something that would have to be done in the future, it is not for now. If we are going to expand schools, we need the facilities in place to make them work. This is not just a planning issue but an educational one,” he said.

Revised plans were considered by the regulatory services committee last week and councillors decided to defer a decision.

A kitchen extension and the introduction of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), which would make it illegal for parents to park or drop-off children outside the school and is scheduled to come into effect in September, were previously added to the application.

But councillors argued the plans did not include any enlargement of the dinning room and it was too early stage to allow for the expansion to take place as the impact of the PSPO has not yet been seen.

More to follow.