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(UK) Wilmslow: Costs for "very much needed" 80 place autism school reach $7.4M

Jan 18, 2023, Knutsford Guardian: Claims Wilmslow school costs doubled because scheme rushed

N. England

BUILDING costs for a new special school in Wilmslow doubled to more than £6m [$7.4M] because the council wasn’t fully prepared when it was approved, a councillor claimed.

Cheshire East’s children and families committee agreed in July 2021 the Dean Row Centre at Wilmslow could be remodelled and refurbished as a satellite site for the highly-rated Springfield School at Crewe.

It was expected the new site in the north of the borough would be open by September 2022 and the estimated refurbishment cost was £3m [$3.7M].

Eighteen months later the cost of the required works has spiralled to £6.1m and councillors at Monday’s committee meeting were told it was hoped the satellite school, which will provide up to 80 places for children and young people with autism spectrum disorder, will be completed by November.

Cheshire East is desperately short of places for children with special educational needs, which means many youngsters have to travel miles out of the borough to specialist schools. This new school is very much needed.

Cllr Flavell said: “At the end of the day it is very disappointing how this has happened but it is still cheaper than not doing it. The savings that are going to be made by this are much greater than the increase in the costs and that’s what we need to remember. It’s still worth doing.”

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