Tuesday, 26 September 2017

School urged to find new way to fund £3m rebuild

GOVERNORS of Peppard Primary School have been urged to seek an alternative to public funding for a new £3 million building.

GOVERNORS of Peppard Primary School have been urged to seek an alternative to public funding for a new £3 million building.

Oxfordshire County Council says it can’t afford to pay for the school to move from Church Lane to a purpose-built complex next to the B481 to the north of Peppard Common.

Planning permission was obtained 18 months ago but in April it was revealed that the move had been stalled by the lack of funding.

Now David Bartholomew, who represents the ward on the county council, has advised the governors to seek the money elsewhere. He told a meeting of Peppard Parish Council that there had been no change in his council’s stance and it would only fund a school’s basic needs.

He said: “I will do what I can to help, although my options are limited at the moment.

“I think at some stage we may reach a tipping point. If the funding gets towards a certain level then the attitude of the county council may change. If you get to a point where the amount that needs to be filled in is small then for the long term it will have an advantage to the council, knowing that at some point it’s going to have to be replaced.

“They may think ‘if we’re 75 per cent of the way there now, let’s review it again’.

“The school should look at other options for funding. It’s a question of moving forward and building a case.”

Cllr Bartholomew also suggested updating the valuation assessment of the current site. Governor Ian Heriot said: “We recognise that the funding situation is difficult at the moment but nevertheless we’re very determined that this project should go ahead.

“We’re looking into all possibilities of funding and all possible models for bringing this project together.

“We’ve taken on board David’s advice to reassess the value of the current school because that’s clearly important in our overall financial position.

“We’ve got a shovel-ready project and if someone can come forward with the funding we could start work tomorrow.”

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