A HAMPSHIRE school rated "Good" by Ofsted has been given the go-ahead to build an eco learning centre.

Planning chiefs have approved a proposal submitted by Our Lady and St Joseph Catholic Primary School in Ramley Road, Pennington.

The school lodged an application to construct a single-storey prefabricated building.

A design and access statement which formed part of the application said the timber-clad structure would blend in with the surrounding natural environment.

Now the scheme has been backed by New Forest District Council.

A report to members said the "modest" building would not be out of keeping and would not have an adverse impact on the character of the surrounding area.

It added that the eco classroom would provide the school with a valuable facility.

"Although it is located just within the area designated as private education/recreational land, the main school playing fields are located to the east and are unaffected by the proposal," said the report.

"The proposed development would not result in an increase in the number of pupils attending the school. Highway, parking and transport matters are unaffected by the proposal."

A school spokesperson added: "Children, staff and all community members are thrilled that their new 'eco classroom' has been approved.

"All our children are taught in small class sizes of 15, so an extra multi-functional space is a real joy.

"The School Council will be leading on a major school grounds development project where our wildlife, conservation and ecological awareness will sit at the core of their business for the year ahead."

The cost of the scheme has not been disclosed but the spokesperson said it represented a "significant investment" in the site.

Earlier this year the Beaulieu-based Countryside Education Trust was given planning permission to build a new facility where visiting groups of children can focus on the issue of climate change.

The New Forest National Park Authority approved proposals for a learning an exhibition centre at Home Farm, Palace Lane.

The new building will be used to educate people about climate change and its impact on the New Forest.