Hope for early start on new North Devon schools

WORK could start within three years on the building of five new Devon schools -three of them in North Devon and Torridge - if the county council wins government backing to bring forward development. Devon County Council's executive committee is being ask

WORK could start within three years on the building of five new Devon schools -three of them in North Devon and Torridge - if the county council wins government backing to bring forward development.Devon County Council's executive committee is being asked to approve a submission to start work early on new buildings for Chulmleigh, Ilfracombe, Dartmouth and Tiverton secondary schools and for a rebuild of Marland special school near Torrington.Next Thursday (April 23) the county's executive committee will be asked to approve a bid to the government for funds from the national Building Schools for the Future programme.Devon is one of 30 local authorities invited to bid for the early release of funds by the government because of its success in delivering other projects.The county will hear later in the year if it has been successful in its application. If it is, work will start on planning the new buildings almost immediately and building work could start in 2012.Councillors will be told that Devon will have eight waves in the Building Schools for the Future programme. Chulmleigh, Dartmouth, Ilfracombe, Tiverton and Marland are in the first wave.All eight waves would mean more than �800 million of investment in Devon's secondary schools. The county council would need to contribute �49 million towards the building costs and �24 million towards the running costs. Devon's deputy leader and executive councillor for children's services, John Smith, said: "In the past the government has indicated Devon would be in the latter waves of the BSF scheme. However, they have now invited a small group of local authorities which have successfully delivered a range of other projects to bid to join the scheme earlier. We have put together what we think is a sensible set of proposals for schools that badly need to be replaced. We think these schemes would also make a major contribution to economic and social regeneration in these towns and so have a positive impact on a range of services we provide, in addition to the primary aim of improving educational standards.


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