Hatfield schools move to cost Hertfordshire County Council �5m

PLANS to move a special needs school while work on the Hatfield incinerator takes place will cost the taxpayer almost �5million, outraged councillors have claimed.

As the Welwyn Hatfield Times reported last week, Hertfordshire County Council is considering temporarily relocating Southfield School in Travellers Lane while improvements are made to the access road of New Barnfield – where the �200m incinerator will be built.

The scheme would see Southfield relocated to the former site of Howe Dell School in Old Rectory Drive, Hatfield, with The Park Education Support Centre (ESC) permanently moved to a disused school site in Potters Bar.

It would cost an estimated �3.9m to move Southfield, and another �950,000 to relocate The Park ESC.

But instead of contract-winners Veolia footing the bill, the cost will instead be met by Hertfordshire County Council, despite even council officers recognising the programme is “poor value for money”.

This week, WGC Lib Dem county councillor Malcolm Cowan, a long-standing opponent of the incinerator, said: “It should clearly be the responsibility of Veolia to pay for any disruptions caused. They selected that site and should have absorbed all the consequential costs in their bid document.

“Arguably this will have given them an advantage over the rival bidder who would not have needed to relocate facilities in the same way.

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“The council is in effect paying potentially �4.9 million towards having BOTH the Special School temporarily relocated at a cost of �3.9m AND also the Park ESC permanently relocated at a possible further cost of �950k.

“Too much is being done to make New Barnfield the cheapest option by the county paying some of the costs.”