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RCT's flagship school project in trouble already

November 26, 2013 3:00 PM

As reported by Wales Online, and made less explicit by a news item from RCT Council, the much publicised new school and leisure complex in Aberdare has hit a few snags. Instead of moving into new premises next September students will now have to wait until at least April 2015.

Three schools are merging to form the new Aberdare Community School in a £50million scheme which also includes revamped leisure facilities.

Labour Cabinet Member for Education Eudine Hanagan said

"Numerous issues have been encountered that have prolonged the length of the design process. More recently we have experienced problems with the construction market generally where there appears to be a reduction in the supply chain as a result of the recession. This has contributed to a delay in agreement of a target cost with the contractor."

As yet pupils do not know what temporary arrangements will be made to cover the gap. The news will be especially galling to those who objected to the proposal in the first place.

RCT Welsh Liberal Democrat Campaign Manager Karen Roberts says it is disgraceful that a major investment such as this should be so far off schedule at such an early stage.

"This scheme has been lauded by the Labour administration for some time - articles appeared in the March, June and September editions of the Council's Outlook paper extoling the project and the difference it would make to students. The comments of the Cabinet Member for Education are merely excuses, not valid reasons.

"In light of the talk about 'target cost' and the trouble in reaching an agreement on this there must surely be a concern that this project, like so many others carried out in RCT and commissioned by this Council, could end up over budget as well as being delivered late. The by-passes at Porth and Church Village are classic examples where costs trebled.

"The Council is taking out a loan to cover the cost of this project, which will cost considerably more than the £50million headline figure in the long run. They cannot afford any over-runs."