Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
Fears over bombs near school land
PARENTS of pupils at a primary school near Didcot are still worried more unexploded bombs could be lurking on nearby land.
But housebuilders Bovis Homes and David Wilson Homes, which are building about 275 homes next to Chilton Primary School in Downside, say people have not been placed in danger.
Explosive devices at the Chestnut Fields site have been found twice in the past two months on land used as a bomb store by the RAF during the war.
Parents raised concerns following the discovery of a World War Two rocket on Wednesday that led to the school being evacuated.
Chris Stanley, 44, an advertising director from Harwell, whose daughter Olivia Stanley, nine, attends the school, said: “Among parents at the school there is a realisation that we could be dealing with more than a one-off.
“On Wednesday night we were allowed back into the school for the school play and have been told that next term there will be a meeting where parents can ask questions on this issue.
“Every aspect of the clean-up on the site needs to be looked at thoroughly.”
Bovis Homes and David Wilson Homes promised a full investigation and issued a statement which said: “We have been assured by the specialist ground remediation and munitions experts who have worked on site that the devices which have been found were not explosive, and the risk associated with them was assessed as negligible.
“They were practice devices or smoke canisters, which were used by the Army during military training exercises, and did not represent a danger to the public. Safety at the development is of paramount importance to us.”
Stefania Bartolini, 45, from Abingdon, whose children Francesco, eight, and Chiara, seven, attend the school, added: “What’s irritating is that the device was detonated at about 12.30pm, but parents were told to pick up their children by 1pm so some pupils were still at the school when it went off.
“If this happens again then children should be evacuated before the bomb is detonated.”
County councillor for Sutton Courtenay and Harwell Stewart Lilly said: “It’s regrettable that devices are still being found to this day, but no-one was put in any danger.”
Headteacher Sandra North has declined to comment.