Hitchin school receives funding for urgent repair works
PUBLISHED: 11:47 27 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:47 27 September 2019
A Hitchin school has received much-needed funding from Herts County Council which will help secure its future.
District councillors Sam North and Sam Collins campaigned for Ickleford Primary School in Hitchin to receive funding for urgent repair works.
In August, Cllr North wrote a letter to Secretary of State for Education, MP Gavin Williamson, outlining the need for funding in the region of £1 million that would go towards refurbishments to the building and grounds - which if not rectified could have seen the school close.
The school had submitted bids to Herts County Council for funding which were declined.
On September 12, a meeting with Hitchin MP Bim Afolami, the school's chair of governors Miles Maxwell, and Cllr Terry Douris, executive member for education, libraries and localism at the county council, agreed that funding would be provided.
Mr Maxwell confirmed that in the first instance, a sum in the region of £200,000 has been agreed to complete an overhaul of the central heating system.
A further HCC review in October will judge on the provision of funding for two other key areas of repair work.
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Herts county councillor David Barnard, who represents the area, said that funding was always going to be agreed and no bids were rejected.
Cllr Barnard said: "The county council is delighted that we have been able to negotiate the already agreed programme of funding so that the school works can now get under way.
"A survey was carried out at the premises of Ickleford in February and it was found that there was nothing structurally damaging that would be a danger to students.
"The funding was always going to be provided, but these things don't happen overnight."
Cllr North, who represents the Cadwell ward at North Herts District Council, said: "This is a great result for all involved. It was clear that the school really needed the work done as a top priority, but for some reason the Conservative-run county council didn't seem interested until we made the issues very public.
"It is great to see that local campaigning and effort can pay off, but this work should have been done much sooner and it should not have come to this."
Cllr Collins, who represents the Hitchin Highbury ward at NHDC, added: "At times it seems like the Conservative Party is at war with our children, cutting school funding to unsustainable levels, removing playgrounds in our area (which the new NHDC administration has stopped).
"I was appalled when I heard about it, and what is even worse is that it took a pair of district councillors to get the county council to wake up to the issues."