On Monday 25 February, Reading Borough Council granted a lease of the north west corner of Mapledurham Playing Fields.
Clearance works started on Monday to prepare the site for the building works with temporary Heras fencing cordoning off the area so that the trees due to be felled could be done so safely.
The Council's press release states:
"Work on New Heights Free School Set To Begin
THE Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is set to begin work preparing for the construction of the new Heights Free School on part of Mapledurham Recreation Ground this week, after full planning consent was granted today (Feb 25th).
A lease of part of Mapledurham Recreation Ground was granted by Reading Borough Council - in its capacity as trustee of the Mapledurham Recreation Ground Charity - in favour of the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on February 18th. The lease has been entered into in accordance with a decision taken unanimously by members of the Mapledurham Playing Fields Trustees Sub-Committee, which has delegated authority from the Council to make decisions in relation to the Charity.
It follows the ESFA’s amended planning application, which was approved by the Council’s Planning Committee on February 6th. Full planning consent was granted earlier today (Mon Feb 25th).
The ESFA’s contractor, Kier Construction Ltd, has confirmed it expects to begin work to clear the school site this week, in preparation for main construction of the new school.
The clearance work includes the removal of all the trees within the school site. Soil investigation work within the playing field car park and entrance road will also take place. For safety, Kier has confirmed they will cordon off the area with temporary heras fencing whilst the work is carried out. Clearance work is anticipated to be completed week ending March 8th.
At the same time, the Council will also be removing 15 trees in the middle of the playing fields in preparation for landscape enhancement work later this summer. This work will improve the quality of the football pitches and provide a greater flexibility and more sustainable use of the area, as unanimously agreed by members of the Mapledurham Playing Fields Trustees Sub-Committee. There are plans to plant 57 replacement trees in the area."