An old office building between Bracknell and Wokingham is set to be converted into a school for special needs children as plans have been given the go ahead.

The Odyssey Education Group is a private school which provides teaching for those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

In preceding months, the group submitted an application to convert Buckhurst Court, a single storey office building off London Road outside Wokingham into a special needs school.

The conversion project was discussed at a Wokingham Borough Council planning meeting.

A number of concerns were raised by councillor Maria Gee (Liberal Democrats, Wescott), who called for the plan to be refused by the committee.

She argued that there was contaminated land and air quality issues on the site, the plan lacked detail and there was confusion about how staff and pupils could get to the school.

However, planning officer Tariq Bailey-Biggs replied that an air quality and land contamination assessment has to take place before any work could start.

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It was also noted that a majority of the pupils going to the school will actually be coming from Reading Borough, as a letter of intent submitted by the application outlines Odyssey Education Group's contract with Reading childrens services company Brighter Futures for Children to provide SEND education.

To that point, cllr Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey (Liberal Democrats, Winnersh) said: "I would say that we definitely need SEND places in Wokingham, we are short of them and we have a fair number of students here that really need it, hopefully you're going to be accepting some Wokingham students in this place as well."

Cllr Stephen Conway (Liberal Democrats, Twyford) argued that SEND school places are needed throughout the area.

He said: "It's clearly providing a very important need and the pupils that go there will clearly benefit enormously from this opportunity."

Cllr Conway agreed with Bailey-Biggs that issues cllr Gee raised could be answered through planning conditions.

Ultimately, the project was approved by the committee on Wednesday, February 8.

Charu Kashyap, the CEO and founder of Odyssey Education Group said: "We are committed to providing a high quality education provision for our students.

"We believe that every child should have the best start in life, and we're committed to making a significant financial investment in creating a warm nurturing and high quality learning environment."

Bracknell News: The floorplan for the conversion of Buckhurst Court outside Wokingham into a private special needs school. Credit: ZenturaThe floorplan for the conversion of Buckhurst Court outside Wokingham into a private special needs school. Credit: Zentura (Image: Zentura)

Approval means work can begin on converting the inside of the building, with the only external works being to create a playground and install play equipment.

The school will serve up to 50 pupils from age 7-18, with a total of 32 staff needed at the site.

A travel plan to address transport to the site, and assessments relating to contaminated land and air quality must be submitted before the school is occupied.

You can view the approved application by typing reference 223023 into the council's planning portal.