PARENTS and neighbouring residents had the opportunity last Tuesday to view Hampshire County Council’s proposals for a £4m extension to The Butts Primary School.

Located on Bolle Road, Alton, the new single-storey building is needed to cater for planned housing development to the south of Alton at Borovere Farm, the former Treloar Hospital site, and Will Farm.

According to strategic development officer Martin Shefferd, the proposal is to build six new classrooms, expanding provision on the site from eight to 14 classrooms to facilitate a growth in capacity from 240 to 420 pupils.

To ensure ease of development the new building will be located on land to the rear of the existing building, giving access for construction traffic from Whitedown, via the existing staff car park.

Architect Melissa Doughty explained that having carried out landscape workshops with the school, because it would be difficult to match the existing brickwork, the proposal was for the new building to be timber framed, and clad in timber, to give it a natural look. It would have a pitched metal clad roof containing photovoltaic panels, full length canopied window panels on the south side and small windows high up on the northern wall, to make the most of the light, and would be linked to the existing building via a covered walkway.

The result, said Ms Doughty, would be a light, modern space designed to facilitate innovative and interactive learning.

The hope was to get the application through planning by mid-July and to start work in the spring next year. Due to its location in the grounds, it would be possible to isolate the construction site to enable school life to continue as normal, including use of the main playing field area.

The development is also expected to include an extension to the staff car park from Whitedown and the creation of an outdoor learning area.

The aim will be to complete the extension for a spring opening in 2018, to facilitate a reception year intake, expected to grow from 34 to 60 by September of that year.

The contractors for the development have been named as Kier Construction based in Chandlers Ford.

The pre-application consultation exercise attracted a steady flow of people to Butts School, keen to see what the impact of the development was likely to be, both on the school site and on neighbouring homes.

Despite earlier concerns by residents that the development had the potential for exacerbating existing parking problems in Bolle Road, associated with school drop-off and pick-up times, people seemed very happy with what they were seeing, said Ms Doughty.