AN INFANT and junior school in Basingstoke are set to expand after plans received the go-ahead from Hampshire County Council.

A planning application was submitted by Hampshire County Council for the extension of Merton Infant and Junior Schools, in Romsey Close, Popley, in February.

According to the application, the two schools require an extension following pressure on pupil numbers after the creation of nearby housing developments, including Merton Rise.

As part of the redevelopment, the entrances to both schools are set to be reconfigured to create a central point to the schools. An existing playground at the front of the infant school will be replaced with a multi-use games area.

Merton Infant School will benefit from a new library, staffroom, studio and a special educational needs room for pupils suffering from learning difficulties at the school.

A new staff room and reception area, a new studio space and a nurture room, which is typically used by pupils who are showing signs of behavioural, social or emotional difficulties, are also to be added to Merton Junior School.

The extension will result in an additional 90 spaces for pupils in both Year R and Year 3, increasing the number of pupils on roll from September 2015 to 270 at the infant school and 360 at the junior school.

Larissa James, headteacher at Merton Infant School, told The Gazette: “I am happy this is going ahead, and we look forward to working with the planning officers to ensure the best provision for the children.

“This will provide facilities and better provision to support the curriculum.”

However, a new liaison group, including residents and stakeholders of the school, is to be set up following concerns over parking near the school.

Popley borough and county councillor Jane Frankum said: “I went and spoke as the local member, and I am pleased for the school and for the extra facilities that it will bring and life chances it will give the children. It will give the pupils an extra dimension than just doing academic work.

“However, we are setting up a liaison group because the problem that really will arise will be how to maintain the parking. It is right in the middle of a housing estate and there are no main roads going past it.”