On Monday 30th July, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet, will be making some pretty huge decisions that will set the path of the council for years to come. The main one is the option of ‘shared services’. To explain it in the simplest term, it is privatisation. Others might call it something else, but I see it nothing more than selling off certain functions of the council. However, this is not the subject I will be talking about. This blog is on the proposals for Helston College.
For anyone who has ever visited Helston College will know ‘C’ block is in a very poor state. In truth, it is not far off from being a hazard to those who use this site. The college has long campaigned for something to be done, but like most things, it all comes down to money.
Now finally, a series of option are now being presented to Cabinet on Monday. These range from ‘temporary repairs’ which I believe is a pointless exercise because it is merely painting over the cracks and still not solving the problem. I believe the only creditable option is for a total rebuild. Report HERE.
This rebuild option is not cheap. The figure quoted in the report is the costs could amount to just over £10m. That is a lot of money in anyone’s book. However, it is the right and only option to solve the college’s problem. If this is the option that is taken forward, there is a discussion to have if the same site is used for the rebuild, a different site, and how a rebuild will be carried out without affecting the running of the college.
So how will the rebuild be paid for? We all know Cornwall Council is not awash with spare cash, so this money will have to be found from somewhere. A few options could be used. One of these is reassigning money already earmarked in the capital spending. In a biased way, I would say why not. But this would be unfair on that project which gets kicked into the long grass. Cornwall Council could also borrow it using its AAA rating to get a good deal.
Another option, which I have written to the CEO, Kevin Lavery (a few months ago) requesting to use the money from the sale of one school to fund this rebuild. The school in question is the former Richard Lander school site which is being sold by Cornwall Council. I have also spoken to senior Cornwall Council officers about this proposal and in principle this could happen. Though there are some technicalities, though not insurmountable
Of course this is not as simple as cashing the cheque from the sale and writing another for Helston, but it is a creditable option which would not affect another capital project. Sadly, I have no vote in this matter, but I will support any option that gives Helston College the rebuild it desperately needs.
Let’s hope the Cabinet makes the right decision and accepts it has to rebuild this block which will give the school the facilities it needs to educate our young people.