Par­ents pay up to keep school field

Do­na­tions en­sure Thorpe House can thwart in­ter­ested de­vel­op­ers

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - By Jack Abell jack.abell@trin­i­tymir­

PAR­ENTS and pupils are cel­e­brat­ing after the fu­ture of their school’s play­ing fields was se­cured.

Thorpe House School, in Ger­rards Cross, has bought the land which con­tains its play­ing fields to safe­guard against bids from prop­erty de­vel­op­ers.

The deal was made pos­si­ble after par­ents do­nated cash to the school to help fund the pur­chase of the land. They also held fundrais­ing events such as a spon­sored camp out on the play­ing field, school fetes and an artshow with works cre­ated by pupils.

The school also con­trib­uted to­wards buy­ing the land from the pri­vate landowner.

The school and par­ents have de­clined to say how much was paid for the land or what pro­por­tion was paid by par­ents.

The pri­vate school charges fees of up to £4,635 per term.

The fields will now be able to be used by pupils for gen­er­a­tions to come and are also avail­able for the com­mu­nity to use out­side of school hours.

The fu­ture of the fields was thrown into doubt two years ago when Kingscote School, in Oval Way, merged with nearby Thorpe House School, fol­low­ing an agree­ment for the two sites to op­er­ate to­gether.

As part of the deal, half of the Kingscote site was put up for sale by the pri­vate landowner, in­clud­ing part of the school play­ing field site.

Par­ents set up an ac­tion group in or­der to stop prop­erty de­vel­op­ers buy­ing the site, and man­aged to get the site in­cluded in the Chal­font St Peter Neigh­bour­hood Plan, a doc­u­ment which safe­guards against in­ap­pro­pri­ate de­vel­op­ment.

Found­ing mem­ber of the ac­tion group, Vic­to­ria Dover, of Austen­wood Lane, said: “This is fan­tas­tic news and it’s taken a lot of work to get to this point. “We are all re­ally pleased. “It was a wor­ry­ing sit­u­a­tion at one point, but it means that the fields will be there for the school to use and that de­vel­op­ers can’t build on them.

“It’s also good news for the com­mu­nity as well, be­cause dif­fer­ent groups will be able to use the fields, so we’re re­ally pleased to have got this re­sult.

“The field is an in­te­gral part of the Ger­rards Cross land­scape and will re­main so for years to come.”

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