THE eagerly-anticipated move to a new first school in Dorset has been further delayed because "safe pedestrian access" for parents and pupils cannot be guaranteed.

Staff and students from Wimborne First School had been set to move into their multi-million rebuild, at the Wimborne Chase development on the outskirts of town, this term.

Initially parents expected a September move, but they were later told it would be November.

However, delays in building the required access to the new school site, means no concrete moving date has been forthcoming.

One frustrated parent told the Echo: "We were back in July that we would have to take our children out of school for a week in November, as it would be closed for the move.

"Now that has changed and many parents who have booked holiday from work have been adversely affected, with a new closure date not guaranteed."

Wimborne First School head teacher Sarah Hartley: "We are very excited about the move to the new school site and the amazing facilities which have been provided for the school community.

"We are obviously all disappointed that we will not be moving when we had hoped to, but the children's safety is paramount and we will not compromise on this."

Meanwhile, a Dorset Council spokesman told the Daily Echo: "We have been made aware that commitments and access improvements, being undertaken by the Wimborne Chase housing developer, will not be in place within the legally required timescales.

"The implications of this mean that safe pedestrian access to the site cannot be guaranteed.

"Ensuring the safety of the children, parents and staff will always be paramount for the council and the school.

"At this stage due to the current uncertainty of when the Wimborne Chase developer will deliver the required access improvements, we are not proposing an alternative moving date at this time."

The rebuild of Wimborne First School started in September last year.

The existing school, which lies in the town centre, has a capacity for 300 children. There is limited potential for future expansion.

The new school is being developed as part of Bloor Homes housing development Wimborne Chase.

It will be able to accommodate 450 pupils, which the council says will help meet the needs of proposed housing developments in the area.

A Bloor Homes spokesman said: "The delivery of Wimborne First School is in the hands of a third party, which is outside of the control of Bloor Homes.

"Whilst the construction of the access roads is within our responsibility, there are other stakeholders who have an input into that process.

"Bloor Homes is working closely with the council to come to a speedy resolution of the current issues and the council will undoubtedly provide a further update in due course as to progress."