More places will be created at a primary school in Denham after major extension plans were given the green light this morning – despite concerns over the impact it could have on the green belt.

Plans to build a new hall and IT room at the historic Denham Village Infant School, in Cheapside Lane, were given the nod by Bucks County Council today (October 8).

The extra room would make way for a total of 105 places across Key Stage One and Key Stage Two, as the school currently only provides 72 places for five to seven-year-olds.

The grade II listed school falls within the metropolitan green belt – prompting concerns from South Bucks District Council (SBDC) the development would affect the “openness” of the protected land and “adversely impact” the historic site.

However in a report, BCC officers stated the need for extra places has been “justified” and extending an existing school would have less impact on protected land than building a new one.

Some of the original school buildings on the site date back to the mid-19th century, while extra classrooms were added in the 20th century.

Speaking at this morning’s meeting, councillor for Denham, Roger Reed, said: “This school is being extended from an infant-only school, and with the increased development it will become a combined school. So it will be from four-and-a-half up to 11.

“And Denham Green Academy this year had 10 children on the waiting list of their reception class because their reception class is significantly over-subscribed.

“So there is an absolute need from an education perspective for this extension, otherwise families will have to travel quite a long way to the next available infant school.”

A council report stated there is a need for children to carry out their primary education in one location, rather than dealing with the “uncertainty” of changing schools at the end of Key Stage One.

The development is also expected to reduce the need for home-to-school-transport, and the extra places will accommodate a rise in the number of houses being built in the area.

The officers concluded the need for the development provides the “very special circumstances” required to build on the green belt.

The report stated: “The proposal is not for a new building but rather extensions to an existing one. The school is bordered on its boundaries by trees.

“There is a building just outside of the school site on its eastern border and houses on either side. Going further from the eastern boundary of the school site is a cricket ground, also bordered by trees and some houses.

“Therefore, the proposed development would not have an adverse or detrimental impact on the openness of the metropolitan green belt and therefore there is no justification for it to be refused.”