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No 'pot of gold' for Helston College rebuild
7:00am Friday 2nd August 2013 in Cornwall
More detail has come out about funding relating to the threatened Helston Community College rebuild.
On Monday Andrew Wallis, portfolio holder for Children and Young People and councillor for Porthleven and Helston west, wrote on his blog about the history of the scheme and the funding.
He said when the decision was made last year “there was no clear idea on how it would be paid for.”
Funding of such schemes for schools normally comes through Department for Education capital grant funding, which is designed to fund all Local Authority schools in Cornwall.
In the 2011/12 financial year this grant was £9,878,067, while in the current financial year it has been reduced to £6,886,597.
Mr Wallis said: “This money is not for one school, however – it is for all schools in Cornwall. So if we wanted to use this money for C-block, then there would be no money for any other school. Currently, there is around £54m worth of maintenance back-log in Cornwall’s schools.”
He added that Helston was “one of five other schools” in similar positions.
If the council borrowed the money, initial repayments would cost £675,000 a year. While this amount would reduce over time, the average costs over 40 years would be £465,000 per annum or £800,000 over 25 years.
“With money as tight as it is at the council, this would require some pretty drastic action in services/capital programme just to cover the loan costs,” he said.
To fund £10million itself, the council would have to abandon one or a number of existing council schemes and look at larger areas of spending, such as repairing roads and providing houses for local people, he added.
Mr Wallis said: “This decision was made 12 months ago. When I took over as the portfolio holder two months ago I asked the question on what was happening at Helston College a month into the role.
“I was told that the issue of lack of funding is still the same as it was 12 months ago. You might ask what was happening for the ten months before I took over the portfolio.”
He concluded: “I would like to make it very clear that I have not cut any funding for Helston College. There has to be funding in place to be able to cut it, and the original decision to go ahead with the proposed rebuild was made in principle, subject to approval of appropriate funding.”
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