A NEW science block and performance art space is set to be built at a school.

Sherfield School was given the green light for its bid to construct the additions at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council development control committee meeting on Wednesday last week.

The school will now demolish the existing science buildings at the site and introduce the new facilities by building an extension to the current dining hall at the facility based off the A33.

Speaking at the meeting on behalf of Sherfield School, Nick Holt said: “The school has always actively made an investment in its pupils and this is an important investment to maintain the highest possible standard of education.

“Science as a subject has changed a lot since the science block was initially built, and now performing arts can be taken as an A-Level, so the school needs to make sure the facilities meet the required standards.”

With the approval, it would in theory mean the school can increase its capacity of students from its current Ofsted recorded limit of 628 to around 700.

However, this is something that, when quizzed by committee members, headteacher Nick Brain said would not be the case.

He said: “The capacity is based upon floor space, so the development would increase the floor space, but the students on our role has always been around 545 and we don’t seek to change that.”

However, this was an issue which still caused Bramley and Sherfield ward councillor Nick Robinson some concerns.

Cllr Robinson said: “In terms of the actually physical building I do not see an issue with them as they are largely out of site.

“The problem I have is it will enable the capacity to increase to nearly 700 pupils. I cannot understand why they want to extend to 700 when their capacity has never exceeded 545.”

Sherfield-on-Loddon Parish Council had also objected to the application, citing fears of over-development of the site and an increase in traffic on the A33 coming from any potential increase in pupil numbers.

But in his submission Mr Holt said that according to Hampshire County Council there were no major incidents on that road since 2016.

Popley East ward councillor David Potter said: “They already have impressive facilities and they will be even more impressive with these additional facilities.”