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MP delivers ultimatum over desperately needed Helston College rebuild
Updated 11:39am Wednesday 9th July 2014 in News
Helston Community College should be given “the chance it deserves” according to the area's MP, who has given the council an ultimatum.
MP for West Cornwall Andrew George said Cornwall Council had until July 21 to submit an application for government money, under the Priority Schools Building Programme, to put towards a rebuild of the college, in particular C-Block.
The 60-year-old curtain walled, flat-roofed building is described as having “inherent deficiencies”, notably a leaking roof, and the “high risk of asbestos fibre release.
Mr George, college governor Alan Horne and headteacher Dr Pat McGovern met Schools Minister David Laws last week, to make a case for government support for the rebuild funding programme at Helston Community College.
Mr George, a former student of the school, claimed that at a similar meeting last year it was acknowledged that C-Block was “the highest priority in Cornwall.”
He said this week: “The situation at Helston Community College is unacceptable. Students and teachers deserve much better. The current policy of using the maintenance budget to paper over the cracks of an inadequate building is a false economy. It throws good money after bad.”
Helston Community College does not have the authority to submit an application itself and needs Cornwall Council to submit a bid on its behalf.
“The college must compete with any of the newly formed academies, which have in the main already had one bite of the national funding cherry when they were first formed,” added Mr George, who described the meeting with the education minister as “extremely constructive.”
“There was a recognition that the now serious structural problems with Helston Community College's buildings stood a good chance of being seen as a national priority for funding if this bid was submitted,” he said.
Mr George now plans to meet with Cornwall Council chiefs to make sure a strong bid is submitted within the deadline.
“The outstanding reputation of my former school deserves the required level of financial support to enhance its reputation even further,” he said.
Porthleven and Helston West Cornwall Councillor Andrew Wallis, who is also lead member for children and young people, confirmed this week: “Cornwall Council, on behalf of Helston College will be making a robust case to the government for adequate funding for the rebuilding of Helston C-Block.
“I made the promise to the college that I would do all within my powers to obtain this important funding from the government.”