Council chiefs have been recommended to stop progressing a proposed rebuild at Helston Community College as original funding options are unaffordable and that all other options for funding had been exhausted.
Last week the Packet exclusively revealed that the plans to knock down C-block and replace it with up-to-date facilities had been withdrawn on Cornwall Council’s website – despite headteacher Dr Pat McGovern having no knowledge of this decision.
The council’s cabinet members are now due to meet next Wednesday to hear officer recommendations over the building bid.
These include that following an “extensive review process” none of the original options previously put forward for funding the rebuild of were affordable and all other options for funding had been exhausted – as such, the rebuild “should not be progressed at this time.”
A previous incarnation of the cabinet had agreed in July 2012 to back a £10 million rebuild at the school in principle, if the money could be found.
Cabinet members are also recommended to note that Cornwall Council will continue to meet its statutory duty of maintaining the school’s buildings, “within the available resources for maintenance” and will “actively work and support” the school to access any future government capital funding sources.
Councillors will be told the existing C-block is in “demonstrably poor condition”, with roof leaks “prevalent” throughout the block and the perimeter curtain walling “in a very poor state”.
C-block is described as a “very challenging” building to repair due to its age and “inherent deficiencies.”
The officer report notes that Helston Community College opted out of the Schools’ Property Maintenance Programme between 1999 and 2004, and following the cabinet decision in 2012 the council had looked at different options to find the money for the rebuild.
“It is important to note that the financial position of both Cornwall Council and Helston Community College has significantly worsened since submission and consideration of the original July 2012 report to cabinet,” the report adds. Due to the changed financial circumstances, it had now been established that none of the potential capital funding options identified in the original cabinet report were currently available to finance the rebuild, with borrowing described as “unaffordable” given the financial position.
As a result, Cornwall Council would instead “continue to prioritise schools’ maintenance” in line with agreed prioritisation methodology applied to all schools, it is proposed.
“This will ensure that Helston is considered, and indeed all Cornwall Council schools are considered, and that the most urgent works are added to the Backlog Maintenance Programme.
“Reactive maintenance, ie day-to-day maintenance, continues to be the responsibility of Helston School, as it does with all schools,” adds the report.