An additional £1.6million has been earmarked to progress to the next stage of the Woodlands Meed College new-build project, which will improve facilities for pupils with special educational needs.
West Sussex County Council has a plan in place to start delivering the works and is ready to move forward with the project, the new funds adding to the £20million previously allocated.
A full update will be published under News items below shortly.
The County Council continues to commit significant resources, approximately £2m to date, and considerable time to this £20m project to rebuild Woodlands Meed College.
The RIBA Stage 4 design has been approved by the council and Woodlands Meed College with the RIBA Stage 4 Report due for completion 27 September 2021 as per the programme.
The project board scheduled for the 21 September was postponed pending the outcome of discussions on key documents with the College. The development agreement is still in negotiation and completion of this document is an absolute priority, as this must be resolved to enable the project to progress.
The collateral warranties are still to be agreed and these are intrinsic to the completion of the development agreement. When these have been agreed with the College, the project board will be reconvened.
Until the development agreement and collateral warranties are agreed with the College, the County Council are unable to appoint the contractor for the construction phases of this school, as both these documents affect the content of the building contract.
The logistics of building this school whilst both Woodlands Meed College and Birchwood Grove Primary are occupied is being reviewed to establish the programme going forward, so that it will have minimal impact on the operational aspects of the school.
West Sussex County Council is committed to supporting every child and young person in West Sussex with special educational needs and disabilities, particularly at a time when COVID-19 is creating additional challenges for these children.
The £20 million project to rebuild Woodlands Meed College is a major part of that commitment and will provide new facilities that better meet the needs of its pupils and benefit teachers and staff.
However, there continues to be a number of complex technical and legal issues to resolve.
Discussions are ongoing about the Development Agreement, which needs to be signed by all parties before the contractor can be formally appointed. Unfortunately, this has caused a delay to the start of the enabling works on the college site. These were due to begin shortly and will now not take place over the summer period as planned.
We continue to engage with the college, who are the freeholders of the site, to reach a position where both parties can agree the Development Agreement to allow the work to start at the earliest opportunity.
In anticipation of these matters being resolved shortly, the County Council’s delivery team continues to progress this important project at its cost, with the focus of completing the building in spring 2023, in line with our original programme.
We remain fully committed to this important project and will update all parties when we are able to confirm when the work can start.