Today in the Sentinel there’s yet another article about the BSF fiasco. It seems Education leaders have denied reports that a shortlist of firms bidding to build the new schools has been scrapped. These same education leaders are accusing critics of being “hell-bent” on derailing the programme by claiming the bidding process has run into trouble. See the Sentinel link for the full article http://www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk/education/Schools-claims-rejected/article-397869-detail/article.html
Stoke-on-Trent City Council originally drew up a shortlist of potential contractors in 2006. But, the article says, since then, the plans have radically changed and they have become “mired in controversy”. Campaigners fighting to save schools or gain new buildings have lodged legal challenges, and schools and city MP’s even joined forces to draw up their own alternative proposals.
Now the city council has denied the building programme is in further trouble. It comes after reports in the trade press that firms will be forced to retender for the construction work. Contracts are expected to be announced next summer and building is due to start in 2010.
Roger Ibbs says in the article "It would appear that a minority of people seem hell-bent on attempting to halt or derail the BSF programme at all costs."
So what’s the truth behind this? Are there any councillors or council officials out there reading this blog who are prepared to tell us what’s REALLY happening with the BSF Programme?
The problem is, not many people living in Stoke on Trent who are affected by BSF feel that they’ve been properly consulted, listened to or treated with any respect. It’s no wonder that people worked with the MP’s to draw up alternative proposals, and why people like the Trentham Action Group was formed and goes from strength to strength.
We in the South of the City are still waiting for answers about where the Parkhall Academy will actually be sited, and how the children of secondary school age across this area of the city will be dispersed amongst the remaining schools in the area. We keep asking, but no answers are forthcoming.
When are we going to be told! I don’t know what your views are, but I think the council has definitely shot itself in the foot on this one. I know that Mayor Meredith thinks he is doing what is right, but in the face of so much challenge and opposition from the people of the city – how can anyone possibly think that is still the case? What do you think?