Court orders review of scrapped school building programme

A HIGH court judge has ordered the government to review its decision to scrap a vital school buidling programme at the end of last year.

The ambitious Building Schools for the Future project set up under Labour was axed by the coalition government for being too costly and too bureaucratic.

Six councils sought a judicial review against plans to axe the programme, which would have repaired, refurbished and extended every secondary school in England to the tune of �55bn over a 15 to 20 year period.

Now education secretary Michael Gove has been told to reconsider the move after the boroughs of Waltham Forest, Luton Borough Council, Nottingham City Council, Sandwell, Kent County Council and Newham fought their case in court.

In this borough, all but two ‘sample’ schools lost their BSF funding of some �270m which would have been used to upgrade crumbling facilities and to create much needed school places.

Dagenham Park School, School Road, and Sydney Russell School, Parsloes Avenue, both in Dagenham, were allowed to go ahead because the council and contractors had already invested money into the planning stage of the projects.

High Court judge Mr Justice Holman added: “However pressing the economic problems, there was no overriding public interest which precluded consultation or justifies the lack of any consultation.”

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A Department for Education spokesperson said: “On the substantive points he concluded that it was a rational decision and that the authorities involved had no expectation of being allowed to proceed with their projects.”