Three month delay announced to �55 million transformation of two Fenland schools

Exclusive By John Elworthy A �55 MILLION transformation of two Fenland secondary schools has been delayed by up to three months. Instead of work starting in April at the Neale Wade Community College, March, and The Thomas Clarkson Community College, Wis

Exclusive

By John Elworthy

A �55 MILLION transformation of two Fenland secondary schools has been delayed by up to three months.

Instead of work starting in April at the Neale Wade Community College, March, and The Thomas Clarkson Community College, Wisbech, it will be July at the earliest before contractors get on site.


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Project director Alan Kippax confirmed the delays today and said they were "regrettable but it is important we nail down a lot of issues".

Two companies, Equitix Learning Partnerships and Inspiredspaces (Carillion) are in a bidding war for the contract but a decision is not expected until the end of the year.

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"We were hoping to get the tendering process concluded by the end of the summer term but because of nailing down details, and what with the summer holidays, we ran out of time," he said.

The successful bidder will also be awarded the remainder of the Building Schools for the Future contract for other Fenland schools, and is expected to work with the county council in coming years on similar projects.

Mr Kippax described the procurement process as "complicated" but he was confident that planning applications could be submitted early in the New Year and approval given to meet the new timetable.

However neither bidder will be keeping Eastwood House at Neale Wade, part of the original school which some protestors felt should be preserved.

Mr Kippax said developers would recognise the heritage aspect of Eastwood House "and we are conscious that at the public event in June a small number were keen to see it retained. It isn't the easiest of buildings to incorporate into a 21st century school".

He said some of the materials could be used in part of the construction and there would be a photographic record and archive maintained of Eastwood House.

Mr Kippax said both Fenland schemes should start take between two and two and half years to complete "and will progress in parallel".

He had been assured funding for all of the Fenland schemes was in place and would not be affected by Government cutbacks.

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