No Helston College rebuild as council admits all funding options exhausted

No Helston College rebuild as council admits all funding options exhausted

No Helston College rebuild as council admits all funding options exhausted

First published in News

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the Packet exclusively revealed that the plans to knock down C-block and replace it with up-to-date facilities had been withdrawn on Cornwall Council’s website – despite headteacher Dr Pat McGovern having no knowledge of this decision.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.

Comments (18)

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8:35am Fri 2 May 14

Gill Z Martin says...

The government mandate is to keep building houses, the local plan for Cornwall I believe, is to have 47,500 over a twenty year span, 27,000 already with permission granted, over 7,000 already built and 20,500 over the next seventeen years. The government have pledged money for extra primary placements and primary school new builds where necessary, I believe, however, where does this leave senior schools, and adequate maintenance for them. If money cannot be found to adequately bring Helston Community College up to an acceptable 21st century standard educational institution, then where will future money come from, to cater for all the extra pupils alongside all the new housing, bearing in mind some senior schools are already over subscribed. Surely placement availability and a long term maintenance program, should be addressed now rather than later.
The government mandate is to keep building houses, the local plan for Cornwall I believe, is to have 47,500 over a twenty year span, 27,000 already with permission granted, over 7,000 already built and 20,500 over the next seventeen years. The government have pledged money for extra primary placements and primary school new builds where necessary, I believe, however, where does this leave senior schools, and adequate maintenance for them. If money cannot be found to adequately bring Helston Community College up to an acceptable 21st century standard educational institution, then where will future money come from, to cater for all the extra pupils alongside all the new housing, bearing in mind some senior schools are already over subscribed. Surely placement availability and a long term maintenance program, should be addressed now rather than later. Gill Z Martin
  • Score: 10

12:08pm Fri 2 May 14

ronedgcumbe says...

Probably from the 47.500 new council tax payers I would of thought.
Probably from the 47.500 new council tax payers I would of thought. ronedgcumbe
  • Score: -2

12:45pm Fri 2 May 14

Gill Z Martin says...

ronedgcumbe wrote:
Probably from the 47.500 new council tax payers I would of thought.
It clearly does not work like that though Ron does it, because if it did, where is the proportion of current council tax payers money with which to maintain/rebuild the schools currently catering for present council tax payers.
[quote][p][bold]ronedgcumbe[/bold] wrote: Probably from the 47.500 new council tax payers I would of thought.[/p][/quote]It clearly does not work like that though Ron does it, because if it did, where is the proportion of current council tax payers money with which to maintain/rebuild the schools currently catering for present council tax payers. Gill Z Martin
  • Score: 5

1:41pm Fri 2 May 14

ronedgcumbe says...

Good question maybe we should ask our local representatives.
Good question maybe we should ask our local representatives. ronedgcumbe
  • Score: 4

1:48pm Fri 2 May 14

ronedgcumbe says...

But seriously we desperately need more housing and social housing is the only form most wage packets in Cornwall can afford.
More housing means more income for Cornwall council. Which needs spending on education instead of new offices in Bodmin.
But seriously we desperately need more housing and social housing is the only form most wage packets in Cornwall can afford. More housing means more income for Cornwall council. Which needs spending on education instead of new offices in Bodmin. ronedgcumbe
  • Score: 4

2:23pm Fri 2 May 14

Gill Z Martin says...

I agree Ron, I am completely in favour for housing for those with local needs currently on the housing register, both for purchase and to rent, I always have been.
Consideration needs to be adhered to additionally though, for schools and maintenance.
My understanding is that the offices at Bodmin are to be built on the site of the old St Lawrence's hospital, so our Cornwall Councillors will be going Bodmin! at a cost of around fifteen million, I believe, shared offices with a claim it will save money, however, there appears to be no figures released yet from the council as to savings.
I do not however believe this a justified move, having said money cannot be found for the community college rebuild and with cuts to many other services.
I agree Ron, I am completely in favour for housing for those with local needs currently on the housing register, both for purchase and to rent, I always have been. Consideration needs to be adhered to additionally though, for schools and maintenance. My understanding is that the offices at Bodmin are to be built on the site of the old St Lawrence's hospital, so our Cornwall Councillors will be going Bodmin! at a cost of around fifteen million, I believe, shared offices with a claim it will save money, however, there appears to be no figures released yet from the council as to savings. I do not however believe this a justified move, having said money cannot be found for the community college rebuild and with cuts to many other services. Gill Z Martin
  • Score: 9

1:02pm Sat 3 May 14

Helston fly on the wall says...

I agree about the Bodmin offices, I don't see how the council can claim they just don't have the money or can't find the money for the community college re-build and then the next minute they're presumably finding money for new offices, it doesn't matter how much they reckon the new offices will save, the fact is they seem to have money for them but not the school.
As for Cllr Wallis not knowing about the planning application being withdrawn for the building work, surely it was up to him to keep track of things. It was public knowledge on the councils website according to the article.
I agree about the Bodmin offices, I don't see how the council can claim they just don't have the money or can't find the money for the community college re-build and then the next minute they're presumably finding money for new offices, it doesn't matter how much they reckon the new offices will save, the fact is they seem to have money for them but not the school. As for Cllr Wallis not knowing about the planning application being withdrawn for the building work, surely it was up to him to keep track of things. It was public knowledge on the councils website according to the article. Helston fly on the wall
  • Score: 8

3:49pm Sat 3 May 14

ronedgcumbe says...

I would of thought I am not the only one wondering about councilor Wallis. Is he actually in control of his position.
I would of thought I am not the only one wondering about councilor Wallis. Is he actually in control of his position. ronedgcumbe
  • Score: 5

4:17pm Sat 3 May 14

Gill Z Martin says...

ronedgcumbe wrote:
I would of thought I am not the only one wondering about councilor Wallis. Is he actually in control of his position.
I would have thought Councillor Andrew Wallis was perfectly in control of his position, however, he should not really be expected to read the council website to ascertain information relevant to his position. The officers responsible should keep him informed, if the Cornwall Council management team officers are not liaising with Councillors, then personally I would look to replace the officers.

So who is going to ask Councillor Andrew Wallis if he is actually in control of his position then Ron? You or I ? Lol.
[quote][p][bold]ronedgcumbe[/bold] wrote: I would of thought I am not the only one wondering about councilor Wallis. Is he actually in control of his position.[/p][/quote]I would have thought Councillor Andrew Wallis was perfectly in control of his position, however, he should not really be expected to read the council website to ascertain information relevant to his position. The officers responsible should keep him informed, if the Cornwall Council management team officers are not liaising with Councillors, then personally I would look to replace the officers. So who is going to ask Councillor Andrew Wallis if he is actually in control of his position then Ron? You or I ? Lol. Gill Z Martin
  • Score: 11

4:42pm Sat 3 May 14

ronedgcumbe says...

Well not me as I have read here that he shouts a bit and I have no time for that.
I would have thout that being a councilor for Helston and portfolio councillor concerned you should at least keep up with things.
Well not me as I have read here that he shouts a bit and I have no time for that. I would have thout that being a councilor for Helston and portfolio councillor concerned you should at least keep up with things. ronedgcumbe
  • Score: 7

4:54pm Sat 3 May 14

Gill Z Martin says...

ronedgcumbe wrote:
Well not me as I have read here that he shouts a bit and I have no time for that.
I would have thout that being a councilor for Helston and portfolio councillor concerned you should at least keep up with things.
Well he can't very well shout at me in an email lol, so perhaps I'll ask!!!
[quote][p][bold]ronedgcumbe[/bold] wrote: Well not me as I have read here that he shouts a bit and I have no time for that. I would have thout that being a councilor for Helston and portfolio councillor concerned you should at least keep up with things.[/p][/quote]Well he can't very well shout at me in an email lol, so perhaps I'll ask!!! Gill Z Martin
  • Score: 11

8:42pm Sat 3 May 14

Helston fly on the wall says...

ronedgcumbe wrote:
Well not me as I have read here that he shouts a bit and I have no time for that.
I would have thout that being a councilor for Helston and portfolio councillor concerned you should at least keep up with things.
It does seem strange he didn't know, but even if he did, would he have told the school anyway, because he would have then taken the flak. Not that it makes much difference because if they haven't got the money it won't get rebuilt anyway.

Gill if Ron says Cllr Wallis shouts, he might not be able to in an email but nothing to stop him if he sees you anywhere.

So all that visit to London about the community college, by Cllr Wallis and MP Andrew George was a waste of time and money then.
[quote][p][bold]ronedgcumbe[/bold] wrote: Well not me as I have read here that he shouts a bit and I have no time for that. I would have thout that being a councilor for Helston and portfolio councillor concerned you should at least keep up with things.[/p][/quote]It does seem strange he didn't know, but even if he did, would he have told the school anyway, because he would have then taken the flak. Not that it makes much difference because if they haven't got the money it won't get rebuilt anyway. Gill if Ron says Cllr Wallis shouts, he might not be able to in an email but nothing to stop him if he sees you anywhere. So all that visit to London about the community college, by Cllr Wallis and MP Andrew George was a waste of time and money then. Helston fly on the wall
  • Score: 6

10:04pm Sat 3 May 14

Gill Z Martin says...

I think if Councillor Andrew Wallis had been aware of any updated information, he would have informed the school. I do not believe he would withhold information just to avoid taking criticism.

He would have no idea as to who I am if he saw me anywhere, and hopefully I have given him no reason to shout at me anyway.

The London visit by Councillor Andrew Wallis and others, in order to speak with government ministers, was an attempt to secure government support. Surely it was worth a try. No doubt Councillor Andrew Wallis would have attracted criticism had he not attempted to do anything.
I think if Councillor Andrew Wallis had been aware of any updated information, he would have informed the school. I do not believe he would withhold information just to avoid taking criticism. He would have no idea as to who I am if he saw me anywhere, and hopefully I have given him no reason to shout at me anyway. The London visit by Councillor Andrew Wallis and others, in order to speak with government ministers, was an attempt to secure government support. Surely it was worth a try. No doubt Councillor Andrew Wallis would have attracted criticism had he not attempted to do anything. Gill Z Martin
  • Score: 7

4:01pm Sun 4 May 14

Helston fly on the wall says...

Why can Cornwall Council finance a new heritage centre in Redruth, but they can't find the funds for something as important as a school?
Alright, an archive, heritage place is good and it's getting lottery funding, but why can Cornwall Council come up with money like that when it suits them and not the school rebuild?

Have you contacted Cllr Wallis, Gill,and asked him if he is in control of his position, like Ron said?

We just get told no school rebuild and that it, next minute, a new centre for archives etc at Redruth.
Why can Cornwall Council finance a new heritage centre in Redruth, but they can't find the funds for something as important as a school? Alright, an archive, heritage place is good and it's getting lottery funding, but why can Cornwall Council come up with money like that when it suits them and not the school rebuild? Have you contacted Cllr Wallis, Gill,and asked him if he is in control of his position, like Ron said? We just get told no school rebuild and that it, next minute, a new centre for archives etc at Redruth. Helston fly on the wall
  • Score: 4

7:20am Mon 5 May 14

Gill Z Martin says...

There are I believe, different pots of money for different things, anything invested in the new Redruth project would have no bearing on the schools maintenance program.

I think all this has occurred because the previous council administration agreed to a rebuild in principle if the money could be found, and the new administration say the money is not available. It therefore seems strange to me, to agree to things in principle if there is little or no chance of them happening, if it was feasible then why did the original administration not find the money before the last council elections, when they originally agreed in principle!
There are I believe, different pots of money for different things, anything invested in the new Redruth project would have no bearing on the schools maintenance program. I think all this has occurred because the previous council administration agreed to a rebuild in principle if the money could be found, and the new administration say the money is not available. It therefore seems strange to me, to agree to things in principle if there is little or no chance of them happening, if it was feasible then why did the original administration not find the money before the last council elections, when they originally agreed in principle! Gill Z Martin
  • Score: 5

11:10am Wed 7 May 14

Lord Barrington Forbes-Smythe says...

"C-Block", eh... Sounds a bit like a prison and I suppose in a way it is.

Maybe it isn't all that bad or they would simply have to prioritise it.
"C-Block", eh... Sounds a bit like a prison and I suppose in a way it is. Maybe it isn't all that bad or they would simply have to prioritise it. Lord Barrington Forbes-Smythe
  • Score: -2

1:43pm Wed 7 May 14

Gill Z Martin says...

I have seen the condition of Helston Community College as we used to use it for a blood donation venue but no longer do so.

I do not believe Cornwall Council do always get their priorities right. Whilst they have suffered cuts in government funding, I still think they waste money in certain areas. They previously moved council offices in Truro to New County Hall as they deemed the old ones inadequate, and now propose about fifteen million for supposedly money saving shared offices in Bodmin. Where did this money come from? Or where will it be coming from?
I have seen the condition of Helston Community College as we used to use it for a blood donation venue but no longer do so. I do not believe Cornwall Council do always get their priorities right. Whilst they have suffered cuts in government funding, I still think they waste money in certain areas. They previously moved council offices in Truro to New County Hall as they deemed the old ones inadequate, and now propose about fifteen million for supposedly money saving shared offices in Bodmin. Where did this money come from? Or where will it be coming from? Gill Z Martin
  • Score: 3

3:01pm Wed 7 May 14

Lord Barrington Forbes-Smythe says...

Gill Z Martin wrote:
I have seen the condition of Helston Community College as we used to use it for a blood donation venue but no longer do so.

I do not believe Cornwall Council do always get their priorities right. Whilst they have suffered cuts in government funding, I still think they waste money in certain areas. They previously moved council offices in Truro to New County Hall as they deemed the old ones inadequate, and now propose about fifteen million for supposedly money saving shared offices in Bodmin. Where did this money come from? Or where will it be coming from?
My daughter left there last year and it seemed pretty ok to me on the several occasions I was there. She also never reported any bits of school falling on her. ;-)
[quote][p][bold]Gill Z Martin[/bold] wrote: I have seen the condition of Helston Community College as we used to use it for a blood donation venue but no longer do so. I do not believe Cornwall Council do always get their priorities right. Whilst they have suffered cuts in government funding, I still think they waste money in certain areas. They previously moved council offices in Truro to New County Hall as they deemed the old ones inadequate, and now propose about fifteen million for supposedly money saving shared offices in Bodmin. Where did this money come from? Or where will it be coming from?[/p][/quote]My daughter left there last year and it seemed pretty ok to me on the several occasions I was there. She also never reported any bits of school falling on her. ;-) Lord Barrington Forbes-Smythe
  • Score: -5

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