Camden rejects PFI school scheme

2 Aug 01
Labour councillors in the London Borough of Camden have rejected their own plans for a Private Finance Initiative scheme to redevelop the crumbling Haverstock School.

03 August 2001

At a Labour group meeting on July 30, members decided against progressing with the PFI after concerns over the financing and the potential length of the private contract.

But in a move that puts Haverstock in danger of joining the sagas at the Pimlico and Lilian Baylis schools, members failed to agree on any alternative option.

Deputy council leader John Dickie said the building project was now effectively in limbo. 'The council doesn't have the support of the group to take that version of the business case forward, but it doesn't have the support to do anything else,' he told Public Finance.

The PFI option included a complete redevelopment of the Haverstock school site, a 25-year contract with the private sector and an increase in the school roll to 1,200 pupils.

The final cost of the scheme appears to be a major sticking point. The outline business case estimated that the project would cost around £23m, with £17.1m provided through the PFI. But Dickie said costs had moved over time and it had become difficult to estimate the final figure.

Members are due to debate further options at a meeting on September 3. But the education committee in the Labour-run authority appears to have some support for the business case and on July 31 voted to defer its decision until September to gather more information.


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