ADDINGTON School has received the final all-clear to go ahead with expansion plans worth more than £4 million.

Councillors rubber-stamped a planning application to build a new teaching block which will mean up to 50 more special educational needs (SEND) children can attend the ‘Outstanding’ Woodley school.

The proposal also included an extension to the car park and a change to the school’s multi-use games area and its sensory garden.

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Members of Wokingham Borough Council’s (WBC) cross-party planning committee voted unanimously to green light the plans after a number of councillors spoke in favour of the project.

Jim Leviers, Interim Assistant Director for Education, said: “Addington is an absolutely brilliant school.

“It provides a critical resource for children with special needs in Wokingham.

“Without this sort of resource, we are going to have to find an alternative way to provide services for children who have some of the most profound and difficult needs of any children who live in Wokingham.

Mr Leviers revealed at the last admissions appeal for SEND places in Wokingham, there were 43 applicants for just 4 places.

After approving provisional plans to increase Addington’s capacity in February, councillor Anthony Pollock slammed other local authorities for “piggybacking” off WBC’s investment.

A February report indicated 35 of Addington’s pupils are not from Wokingham borough, while 133 children with SEND who are from the borough are educated at schools run by other local authorities.

The council spends £18m a year on supporting children with SEND in Wokingham and transporting them to other schools takes up a large chunk of this budget.

Despite support for the application from councillors, some members raised concerns about the parking proposals.

The car park’s extension means part of the open space between Woodley and Earley will be built on.

WBC’s officers believe this will have no “detrimental” impact on the area, but an Earley resident told councillors locals found the plans “galling”.

After blasting officers for failing to consult Earley Town Council on the issue, she said: “There is nothing in this report to show we were listened to.

“It has taken 10 years for the current car park hedge to grow to a decent height and in the winter it is naked.

“Looking at parked cars instead of a sensory garden does not help people’s health and wellbeing.”

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Despite these worries, councillors approved the application at a meeting on Wednesday, June 12.