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New schools get put on hold

LONG-term plans to modernise the schools in Solihull’s better-off areas suffered a setback last week.

LONG-term plans to modernise the schools in Solihull’s better-off areas suffered a setback last week.

The new, coalition government announced that it was scrapping Building Schools for the Future - a £47 billion plan to revamp every secondary school in the country.

Solihull Council was among the first councils in the country to benefit from the scheme - receiving £90m to rebuild six schools.

The funding, secured in 2004, allowed the local authority to rebuild Park Hall, Archbishop Grimshaw, Smith’s Wood, Lanchester, Forest Oak and Merstone schools.

Councillor Norman Davies, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We were fortunate to have benefitted from the Building Schools for the Future Programme in its first wave, which allowed us to build six brand new secondary schools, representing a £90m investment, in the north of the borough.”

With building work complete at all six sites, Solihull has escaped the fate of its neighbours - in Birmingham many projects have been shelved.

But hopes that Solihull could receive a further £120m to revamp schools in the south were dashed by last week’s announcement.

Coun Davies confirmed that the council had submitted a formal expression of interest to the government.

“Even if the project was continuing, we were aware that this funding was some years off,” he added.

Solihull MP Lorely Burt said: “It makes me angry that the Labour government tried to make friends by promising things when the money wasn’t available.”

 

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