A TOTAL of £149million has been set aside in the county council’s children’s services capital budget for its school building programme from 2014 to 2017.

Part of the funding – £81m – is set to come from central Government, and under the plans, numerous schools in the borough could expand.

A “significant enlargement” is proposed at Burnham Copse Primary School, in Tadley, after funding was secured to provide additional places.

Work is due to start in November, and should be complete by August 2015.

Merton Infant and Junior Schools, in Popley, Basingstoke could expand by 210 places by September 2015.

This expansion is needed as a result of additional housing which is being built on the Merton Rise development.

Funds of £4.1m are needed to provide both schools with extra teaching space and resources. The council anticipates that £3.95m of this will come from developer contributions.

Plans to expand the lower age range at Castle Hill Junior School, in Winklebury, were approved in December last year, to provide additional places to serve the Park Prewett development.

Funds of £3.6m have been earmarked in the 2015-16 budget for Great Binfields Primary School, in Lychpit, to expand the school by one-form entry to accommodate the forecast rise in pupil numbers.

The same plans have been proposed for Hook Infant and Junior Schools.

Meanwhile, Oakwood Infant School and Greenfields Junior School, in Hartley Wintney, are expected to expand to accommodate an extra oneform entry, at a cost of £4.3m, which has been recommended to be incorporated in the 2015-16 capital programme.

At Whitchurch Primary School, in Daniel Road, Whitchurch, funds of £1.6m have been set aside for an expansion of half a form entry as a result of pupil growth in the area.

The investment in primary places is one of the largest ever for Hampshire County Council, and it is set to boost the local economy through the provision of jobs and use of materials in the construction industry.

The spending proposals were considered by the county’s children and young people select committee before Councillor Keith Mans, executive lead member for children’s services, made the spending recommendations to the leader and cabinet on January 22.

They will now go to the cabinet and full council in February.

Cllr Mans said: “This is a further substantial programme of investment that is being proposed and, if agreed, will be extremely good news for schools and children in Hampshire.

“We are acutely aware of the increasing need for additional primary school places due to the rising birth rate and more families moving in to the county, attracted by the quality of education in Hampshire.

“Capital investment is essential if we are to meet this need and the local authority capital grants announced by the Secretary of State for Education are welcomed.”

Councillor Peter Edgar, executive member for education, added: “Our objective is to deliver quality education locally near to where children live and where parents want them to go to school.”

He highlighted the 900 additional places already provided by the council, including at Bramley Church of England Primary School.