Sandwell joins legal fight over scrapping of BSF

Aaron Morby 14 years ago
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Sandwell has joined Nottingham, Luton and Waltham Forest councils taking legal action over the scrapping of school rebuilding projects.

Errors in Education secretary Michael Gove’s list of scrapped schemes initially led the West Midlands council to wrongly believe its projects had been spared.

But it was later told this was not the case and nine BSF projects were cancelled.

The local authority branded Mr Gove’s decision “unfair” because its BSF schemes were ready to proceed before January 1 cut off date, but was told to stick to a timetable set by Partnerships for Schools.

Sandwell Council leader Darren Cooper said: “We are taking legal action because the government’s decision is irrational, unfair and shortsighted.”

“If we had been told that was the deadline, we would have met it. Instead we did what we were told and spent money on preparatory work in good faith.”

Nottingham City Council and Luton Borough Council intend to argue that the decision runs contrary to the council’s ‘legitimate expectation’ that the funding would be forthcoming.

Nottingham’s case is based on the fact that the the business case for its three school projects was approved in February 2010.

The Council also claims that the decision was irrational, in arbitrarily using 1 January 2010 as a cut-off date for stopping funding of BSF projects.

Waltham Forest argued it had spent £17m on plans for new classrooms and that the decision will be ‘catastrophic’.

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