DISTRICT chiefs have stopped short of fully endorsing Swanage’s new secondary school plans, amid objections from Sport England.

Purbeck District Council’s planning board says it will approve official plans for the new school, but only after first attempting to reach some sort of agreement with the sports organisation.

Sport England bosses are objecting about the loss of existing playing fields at the Swanage Middle School site, which will eventually become the new secondary school campus.

Cllr Peter Wharf, chairman of the district council’s planning board, said: “The planning board supported the free school proposal, but could not issue a decision at their meeting because of a formal objection by Sport England.

“Council officers are working hard to overcome the objection. If this happens before the next planning board meeting this month, officers have been given the authority by the planning board to issue an approval.

“If Sport England maintains its objection, the matter will need to be referred back to the next meeting of the planning board.”

Last year Dorset County Council rubber-stamped a move allowing part of the Swanage Middle School site – which is set for closure – to be used by the new secondary school. This site will be divided between The Swanage School and St Mark’s new primary.

The Education Swanage group has battled to establish free secondary schooling in the town since county officials sanctioned a district-wide shake-up two years ago.

As it stands, the fledgling secondary’s first pupils will be taught at Swanage’s Harrow House for at least one term before moving to their new premises.

The new two-storey secondary school, set for the corner of High Street and Washpond Lane, will boast two wings protruding from a central hall.