Simon Clarke MP condemns Middlesbrough Council for U-turning on vital school funding
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP Simon Clarke has today written to Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd calling on him to reconsider what he describes as the “deeply unfair” decision to repurpose £750,000 allocated to Chandlers Ridge Academy in Nunthorpe.
The money was pledged specifically to Chandlers Ridge in 2012 as part of the section 106 agreement permitting the Grey Towers development, with the developer obliged to release the funds once certain milestones in the project were achieved. The Council has now confirmed to Simon that it is seeking to repurpose the funding on the basis it wants to address wider capacity concerns across local schools.
Simon, who raised the issue with the Council last month on the request of Head Teacher Mrs Lidgard and school governors, will now fight to see the original promise upheld.
He is launching a residents’ petition calling for the Council to rethink and is asking Nunthorpe residents to help him obtain as many signatures as possible.
Simon said: “Having visited Chandlers Ridge, it is clear that the school already faces very challenging capacity issues, with pupils being taught in classrooms created in the corridors owing to a lack of proper facilities. The population of Nunthorpe is rising sharply, and with still more additional housing currently being built, I consider it an outright dereliction of duty by the Council to fail to honour what was in effect a promise made to Chandlers Ridge and its school community.
“As the Head and Governors made clear to me, they have been relying on this funding as an integral part of their plans for the school’s future. Their expectation was entirely legitimate, and parents, teachers and pupils will find it deeply frustrating and disappointing that the Council is now seeking to make retrospective alterations to its decision.
“If local people are willing to help sign and distribute a petition among friends and neighbours so we can make clear the strength of opposition to the Council’s proposals, please can they get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Head Teacher Mrs Lidgard said: “We’ve done everything we can to tackle the challenges we face, including using every penny we can find to invest in our kitchens and hall, but there’s a limit to what we can do.
“Our whole school family was hugely excited by this promised funding and what it could allow us to deliver for our pupils. We’re bitterly disappointed and really hope the Mayor will get the Council to change its mind.”