Flintshire Council borrowing £500k for disabled access

Reporter:

Jim Green

FLINTSHIRE Council is to borrow nearly £500,000 to pay for disabled access at a school.

The move comes after it was revealed that a pupil who attends Ysgol y Foel in Cilcain is being taught alone outside of a classroom because of a lack of access.

Councillors attending a corporate resources scrutiny meeting heard the work was needed to provide disability access to the school for two pupils.

They were told one pupil who uses a wheelchair was unable to get proper access.

A report to the council’s executive said the scheme would cost £423,000 and was an alternative to modifying and paying rent on an existing mobile classroom. Cllr Bernie Attridge said the work at Ysgol y Foel was needed as he believed a young child at the school could not get access to a classroom.

But he said there were children at other schools in Flintshire who faced similar
problems.

Cilcain councillor Owen Thomas said: “There is a requirement for the adaptations at the school but I cannot understand how they come up with the figures for the work.

“Some adaptations were made last year but I understand there is a need to further improve the ease of access.”

Cllr Thomas said the council should use income from the sale of its assets for projects of this nature instead of borrowing more money.

“This money should be ploughed back into schools for our futures,” he said.

The council also plans to borrow a further £527,000 to modify an entrance following the amalgamation of Broughton Infants and Junior schools.

Cllr Marion Bateman said she was “baffled” by the costs while Cllr Robin Guest said “eyebrows would be raised”.

Cllr David Barratt suggested the council should use contingency funds instead of borrowing money.

The authority approved both schemes at its meeting on Tuesday, July 19.

Work at Ysgol y Foel is scheduled to begin in mid August and is due for completion in February, 2012.

Flintshire’s head of development and resources Tom Davies said: “In line with other authorities and the aspirations of the Welsh Government, Flintshire Council is accessing funding through prudential borrowing.”

See full story in the Leader

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