A sea of disappointed children were told on Wednesday morning that a new school had not been approved by the council the night before.
Itchingfield Primary School headteacher Simon Simmons said he had told his pupils the news that Horsham District Council had deferred an application for a new school and 69 homes for Barns Green. More than a hundred villagers, including many school children, packed the council chambers and vented their displeasure at the decision, with one saying: ‘If this is democracy, then it’s an outrage’, while one councillor muttered: ‘I think we just killed localism.’
Mr Simmons said: “Although disappointed I’m pleased that HDC were clear in their support for a new school and the impact that will have on the children of Barns Green and Itchingfield. I look forward to showing the councillors around our existing sites to see the excellent work we currently do and how we overcome the challenges of being a split-site school in the 21st century.”
Nigel Currie, an Itchingfield parish councillor, added: “This was a very sad day for Barns Green. It was hugely disappointing to have to sit and listen to a succession of dull and extremely uninspiring so-called politicians.
“The majority of them showed staggering inflexibility and cowered behind some policy which they obviously think has to be rigidly adhered to at all cost.”
Conservative councillors Christian Mitchell (Con, Holbrook West) and Tricia Youtan (Itchingfield, Slinfold and Warnham) shared their reaction, while Claire Vickers (Con, Southwater), cabinet member for living and working communities, was ‘completely confident’ the school would get the go-ahead eventually.
For a full report on the meeting and for complete reaction see today’s West Sussex County Times.