Concern over extra public funding for £32m school

By Emily Pearce

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Concern over extra public funding for £32m school

Cowes Enterprise College. File.

PLANS to plough a further £357,500 of public money into Cowes Enterprise College, to carry out building repairs and investigations into the leaking roof, were approved last night (Tuesday).

Isle of Wight Council executive members largely agreed they had little choice but to hand the cash over to Hampshire County Council, which has taken charge of the project, although Cllrs Steve Stubbings and Phil Jordan abstained from the vote.

Cllr Stubbings said he was 'seriously concerned' about the final cost of bringing the building up to scratch, set to be revealed in a fresh report next month, along with details of the work still required.

"This strikes me as a legacy that has become an albatross very quickly, and we are struggling to manage this situation. Every penny we commit to this project is money that's being taken away from other areas.

"I want to express real reservation and serious concern about where we are going with this project," he said.

Cllr Jordan said: "The whole thing was mismanaged from the start. We are nowhere near the end, which is another great worry. If we agree to this we likely to be faced with further spend because of the complete an utter maladministration of this building."

However, Cllr Richard Priest, executive member for children's services and education, said there was no choice but to complete the project.

He said: "This has been a tortuous journey and something we have inherited from the previous administration. We are not where we want to be in terms of the costs we have inherited and issues with the building,but we need to move forward with the project as best we can.

"It's not a position any of us want to be in, but this is the right thing to do in terms of taking this forward. It's it the best interest of the children who attend the school, we have to get on and focus on improving attainment and attendance.

"If we do not go forward with it, the consequences will be extreme."

A public meeting will be held on April 28 to discuss the ongoing problems with the building, how much they will cost to fix and the action that will be taken to address them.

As reported extensively by the County Press, the £32m flagship building remains plagued by problems.

The roof is leaking, doors need replacing and there are concerns over ventilation and temperature control. The final phase of the project, to demolish the old school and create new sports facilities, has not even started, and outstanding issues with the former contractor, the now bankrupt Pihl UK, have yet to be resolved.

According to the report presented last night, the council may have to borrow money or sell off property to do so. It warns of ongoing costs to maintain the building, and even admits it may not be an appropriate learning environment for students.

The school is due to be taken over by the Ormiston Academies Trust in September, once the outstanding work has been completed.



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Displaying the last 10 of 18 comments - Show All Comments

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by david wright

10th April 2014, at 17:18:19

@ Mr Crowe.
Can you tell me where I said ,inferred or implied I can turn the clock back???

I said lessons should be learned and that is what this forum avails posters to make comments about.

Thank you for your compliment for making a positive contribution you should try doing it !

I hope you are not making any financial gain from your link to a webpage as the CP will want a cut.

I can assure you I do understand life perfectly well thank you, so have no need of your suggested services no matter how well meant :))

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by Mike Crowe

10th April 2014, at 16:51:03

Mr Wright. Are you saying that you "CAN" turn the clock back?

Sorry, don't believe you.

However, if you are saying that you LEARN by mistakes of the past, well done :-)

But there is a difference.

I feel that the following may help you to understand life .......

try it.


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by david wright

10th April 2014, at 14:15:30

@ Mike Crowe
You keep repeating yourself that nothing can be done about mistakes made as they are in the past. What tosh!
So if i burgled your house do i get away with it because it was last night? Are you stupid if you regret leaving your back door open or not buying a dog and having a burgler alarm fitted ?

What is important after mistakes are made is the WHY and what can be learned from it.

Saying you havent got a magic wand is again frankly worthless isnt it?

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by Jack Woodford

10th April 2014, at 07:26:35

I see some of my posts have ben removed. have I done something wrong?

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by alan naylor

10th April 2014, at 01:58:03

flat roofs garranteet not to leak until it rainswhat a boched design all round its the rRuncorn all over again whoever passed it?????

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by Dave Dawson

9th April 2014, at 22:45:09

All - Please except my typing apologies my fingers have had one too many tonight

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by Dave Dawson

9th April 2014, at 22:21:46

@Jack Woodford. Black Dog is a contributor to anothef blog site

Error on me posr earlier -should read "by CLOSING CEC"

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by Jack Woodford

9th April 2014, at 21:33:32

Who is black dog?

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by Dave Dawson

9th April 2014, at 21:14:49

Can't take the credit for this but thanks to Black Dog who suggested the council resolve the masdive over capacity of the six form colleges by clising CEC and offering the building and grounda to Asda or some other organisation who would like to relocate here. Brilliant

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by Nicholas Lighton

9th April 2014, at 19:51:09

I believe that this was a fixed rate design and build contract, whereby the contractor was responsible and liable for both the design and construction of the finished product. Any overspend by the council would therefore have been due to works over and above the contracted sum.
If the contract was let on normal terms, the council would have retained a percentage of the contract price until after the one year warranty term.
With regard to the officers that were exonerated, one assumes that following a nine month investigation no evidence was found, and that any payoff was related to reputational damage caused by false allegations.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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