Determined villagers have launched a petition in a desperate fight to get a rebuild of a school kitchen and hall, instead of a planned revamp.
Northumberland County Council has said that, due to costs, it will refurbish Rothbury First School’s aging facility.
In a letter to parents, from chairman of governors Robert Famelton, and headteacher Dianne Butler, they say that the cost of the project would be £500,000, while the cost of a new build would be twice as much.
These quotes have been branded ‘absolutely ridiculous’ by critics, with one claiming the whole of Rothbury could be rebuilt for £1million.
Opponents say the proposed refurbishment is not value for money and does not provide the ideal facilities to meet the needs of the school.
They are instead fighting for a replacement building and believe the cash could be better spent by creating a new, fit-for-purpose facility .
In a bid to force County Hall into a rethink, Karen Crane and Jaime Brown, who have children at the school, have launched a petition.
And they are pushing for as many people as possible to sign.
Karen said: “I am horrified that the county council is not considering a rebuild of the school’s kitchen and dining hall.
“In these hard times, do they honestly think that there would not be a local contracting firm that could build a new building for nearer to the £500,000 that the county council is going to waste on a refurbishment?”
Critics say that the refurbishment plans make no provision for toilets. They add that the hall will remain separate from the main school, leaving children and staff isolated, and does not reflect the current use of the building.
Karen said: “Refurbishing like-for-like is pointless. We get squashed into the hall for every play and concert.
“The children barely have room to move. We need a hall built that suits the school and community for the needs of today and the future.”
The county council says the refurb will meet the school’s needs and the regulatory requirements.