STATEMENT: Investment was not agreed

editorial image

On February 23, a statement was released by Northumberland County Council, endorsed by Coun Scott Dickinson and Robert Arckless.

Amongst other things, it announced that £9million investment was to take place for refurbishment of the James Calvert Spence College site, with ‘building work set to begin in the spring term of 2017’.

This statement was issued a few weeks before the purdah period preceding the local council election in May.

Although I welcomed the proposal, I challenged the statement as I could not see the capital expenditure in the budget. After the election it became clear to me that no such development had been formally agreed.

I recently received a written statement from a senior county council officer who informed me that some very broad ideas about developing JCSC main site had been discussed before the election and officers had been authorised to produce an internal business plan.

The statement went on that a business case and schedule is still being developed and ‘may or may not find its way through to the next stage of the process’. It was also confirmed that it has not been to cabinet for approval.

I therefore reiterate that no £9million plan for refurbishment of JCSC was agreed by the previous cabinet of Northumberland County Council.

It suggests that the press release was made for political purposes by the former Labour county council administration.

Jeff Watson

Ward member for Amble West with Warkworth