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Additional £3.8million schools spend must be scrutinised

Created on 20/06/2018 @ 08:11
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Plans by Powys County Council to commit an additional £3.8million to the Welshpool Primary Schools Project were deferred for more scrutiny yesterday.

A report to a Cabinet meeting from Councillors Myfanwy Alexander, Portfolio Holder for Learning & Welsh Language and Councillor Aled Davies, Portfolio Holder for Finance seeking the additional funding was challenged by Welshpool Councillor Graham Breeze.

Councillor Breeze(pictured) protested that the additional spend caused by the listing of Ysgol Maesydre by CADW and for unforeseen ground works on the site of the new Church of Wales Primary School on the High School fields had not been considered by a scrutiny committee.

“As one of the three Welshpool members I would ask the Cabinet not to support the proposal to increase the cost of this development by £3,816,591 at this stage,” he said.

“The revised figures have not been seen by Scrutiny and indeed were only released to local members late last week.”

Councillor Breeze said there were questions that needed answering about the approach to the revised scheme and why it was costing so much more at this late stage.

He also said the council would need to know why an additional £770,000 was now needed for “unforeseen” groundworks on the site of the new Church in Wales School on Salop Road.

“Quite frankly I am horrified by the figure of £3,816,591 and I’m sure the rest of the council will be too,” he said.

He told the Cabinet that he would not support the proposal until it had been properly scrutinised and was supported by the council’s new acting Chief Executive Mohammed Mehmet, who said it was a reasonable request and would not delay the project.

Councillor Alexander claimed that any further delay to build two new schools in Welshpool could be very damaging and described the additional £3.8million as “a drop in a bucket”.

“The listing decision has had a significant impact on the project and required a change of approach,” she said.

“The authority carried out an options review to assess if there were alternative sites that could possibly accommodate Ysgol Gymraeg y Trallwng. However, this review concluded that there were no alternative options available. The authority therefore instructed the contractor to develop new designs that included the listed building.”

The proposal will now go before a Learning, Skills and Economy Scrutiny Committee on Monday.

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