FENLAND: Questions over £400,000 school grant
PUBLISHED: 09:40 26 January 2009 | UPDATED: 08:51 02 June 2010
FENLAND councillors have questioned whether a school being given a £400,000 grant to allow its hall to be more widely used was intent on setting expensive hire charges. Councillor Simon King, chairman of the overview and scrutiny committee, was questioni
FENLAND councillors have questioned whether a school being given a £400,000 grant to allow its hall to be more widely used was intent on setting expensive hire charges.
Councillor Simon King, chairman of the overview and scrutiny committee, was questioning cabinet members about the funding during a joint meeting last Thursday.
Cllr King said he had heard the Thomas Clarkson Community College was intent on, "setting its rates too high for the new centre and sending groups away."
He asked cabinet colleagues what efforts were being made to ensure the new hall- being built in Wisbech as part of a Building Schools for the Future Initiative- did not price itself out of the market.
"We shouldn't be putting in money if it prices out local groups," he said.
Councillor Alan Melton, for the cabinet, said the school was a semi autonomous body and as such councillors, even though they had voted to agree the £400,000, had no control over the running of the hall.
"How they use the hall is up to the school," he said. "We have no ultimate control. It's subject to market forces- if they make it too high no one will use it anyway."
Paul Medd, executive director, said the council was in discussions with the county council about a "memorandum of understanding" in respect of the £400,000 grant.
He said he personally sat as a governor of the school and could help influence what the school does with the money provided to them.
Councillor Michael Humphrey, also a governor, said the teachers, governors and staff of the school were committed to its use by the wider community.
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