Sting in the tale of two storeys

24th September 1999 at 01:00
THE INS and outs of primary- school architecture have split a wealthy village near Bath.

Designs for a two-storey primary complete with lift, have been branded "inane" and out of keeping with Freshford's bijou beauty. Everyone agrees the school needs more space: 115 pupils are housed in mobile classrooms and a Victorian building. But there the consensus ends.

In the one camp is local architect Chris Bocci, backed by a 300-strong petition and supporters who stumped up his pound;1,300 planning fee.

In the other is Chris Wright who lives a few miles outside Freshford, but boasts the support of Freshford's village postmaster. His petition is smaller - only 200 signatures. But he has the crucial endorsement of the school governors and emerged the winner.

Then there is a third camp. Bath and North East Somerset council fought both schemes and, according to the villagers, delayed proceedings for three tense years.

Mr Bocci is not taking his defeat well. "In allowing two storeys, the council has ignored the issue of the views. I have been in practice 30 years and have never seen a worse decision. I thought it was inane."

Architect Linton Ross, a former chair of governors, shares some of his reservations. "I think it needs basic work to comply with planning regulations," he said. But then he doesn't like Mr Bocci's plans either.

Freshford is no stranger to feuds. In 1990 there was a civil war within the village football team after the reserves were banned from playing on the same pitch as the first team. A High Court action was eventually dropped.

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