Croft School cost £800k more than expected

Swindon Advertiser: Residents opposed to Croft School Residents opposed to Croft School

Croft School cost about £800,000 more than originally hoped – and Swindon Council is blaming the situation on money earmarked for highways works in the area.

The controversial school, next to Croft Sports Centre, off Marlborough Lane, was originally planned to cost £4.5m, but the Adver can reveal the total price tag for the project has ended up as £5,293,501.

On top of a main budget of £4.5m, the council also budgeted a contingency of £500,000, which it used to cover an estimated £500,000 of unexpected highways mitigation works which were agreed by the planning committee.

Residents say the only roadworks so far have been to improve a short stretch of Marlborough Lane, even though only £100,000 of this cash was originally supposed to be saved for work arising after the school was opened.

During construction, the council spent another £400,000 on abnormals, which include £124,000 on sheet piling to retain part of the site, £118,000 on piling mats due to poor ground and £78,500 on excavations associated with site levels.

It means the final cost of constructing the school was £4,793,501, not including the £500,000 for unexpected highways works or the budgeted contingency used to offset it, making a total overspend of £293,501.71 on the £4.5m budget.

When asked to explain the overspend in a Freedom of Information inquiry, Swindon Council responded: “The budget has had to cover an unexpected £500,000 of highway works generated by the planning permission conditions. If this was not the case the budget spent, including a standard level of contingency, would be under budget.”

Croft School is the first to be built under the council’s own modular Class Solutions design, which the council is trying to sell to other authorities on the basis it is one third cheaper to build than a traditional school, quicker to construct and cheaper to run and maintain.

Swindon Council says Croft was still far cheaper to build than a standard primary school of the same size. Millbrook cost £6,562,365 and Oakhurst cost £6,874,364.

Colin Doubleday, the chairman of Pipers Area Residents’ Association, said: “It is hard to comment specifically on the costs of one specific school in isolation. “It would be very interesting to see the comparable costs of building the brick-constructed school at Wichelstowe which was finished a year before. “We are also interested to know if these costs include the substantial ground works to stabilise this very wet ground and the noise fences and landscaping that have still not been completed.

“The important thing is that the school is now here and has 50 pupils. Over the next few years it is planned that there will be 420 pupils, that is 1,680 journeys a day. “The council promised to spend up to £500,000 additional contingency budget on roads and we understand initial consultations are to start shortly about how this traffic could be managed.”

Coun Brian Mattock (Con, Old Town), who is also the deputy council leader, said: “I’m never happy if we don’t get anything achieved on target, but as far as value for money is concerned that figure is very much less than the £6.5m cost we’ve had in the past.”

He said some of the highways money was still available and councillors were talking to the community to determine how the rest should be spent to benefit the area.

Comments (25)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

11:45am Sat 22 Jun 13

1 2 Could B says...

Swindon Borough Clownschool strikes again
Swindon Borough Clownschool strikes again 1 2 Could B

12:00pm Sat 22 Jun 13

Blackwell 2 says...

They weren told about the road from day one.
I wouldn't trust SBC to budget for a jumble sale
They weren told about the road from day one. I wouldn't trust SBC to budget for a jumble sale Blackwell 2

12:06pm Sat 22 Jun 13

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

Anyone surprised?

Perhaps the councilor who's pet project this was can make up the shortfall.

The number of significant issues coming to light suggest Blur went before he was pushed.
Anyone surprised? Perhaps the councilor who's pet project this was can make up the shortfall. The number of significant issues coming to light suggest Blur went before he was pushed. LordAshOfTheBrake

12:45pm Sat 22 Jun 13

itsamess3 says...

Takes a while for the truth to emerge.
Takes a while for the truth to emerge. itsamess3

12:46pm Sat 22 Jun 13

Hmmmf says...

When asked to explain the overspend in a Freedom of Information inquiry, Swindon Council responded: "If we hadn't gone over budget, we'd have been under budget."
When asked to explain the overspend in a Freedom of Information inquiry, Swindon Council responded: "If we hadn't gone over budget, we'd have been under budget." Hmmmf

1:55pm Sat 22 Jun 13

Ringer says...

Hmmmf wrote:
When asked to explain the overspend in a Freedom of Information inquiry, Swindon Council responded: "If we hadn't gone over budget, we'd have been under budget."
It's a bit of a classic.

Shame the project ran over budget, but most public sector expenditure usually does... why? Because it's not their money they're spending, it's ours.

Strange how the first two comments on this article are by the same person using two different logins.
[quote][p][bold]Hmmmf[/bold] wrote: When asked to explain the overspend in a Freedom of Information inquiry, Swindon Council responded: "If we hadn't gone over budget, we'd have been under budget."[/p][/quote]It's a bit of a classic. [p] Shame the project ran over budget, but most public sector expenditure usually does... why? Because it's not their money they're spending, it's ours. [p] Strange how the first two comments on this article are by the same person using two different logins. Ringer

2:29pm Sat 22 Jun 13

Peter Mallinson says...

I get the impression that the Croft Nimbys just like to keep the subject in the public eye.

The school is built, the children are attending and receiving a good education.

Why is it that Councillor Bluh is always named.

The three councillors directly involved in the original plans were, Councillor Mattock, Councillor Foley and Councillor Bawden.

One is still the ward councillor.

How many of the Croft Nimbys have experience of handling large projects, my guess is very few if any. It is never easy to budget to the last penny there will always be problems to contend with.
I get the impression that the Croft Nimbys just like to keep the subject in the public eye. The school is built, the children are attending and receiving a good education. Why is it that Councillor Bluh is always named. The three councillors directly involved in the original plans were, Councillor Mattock, Councillor Foley and Councillor Bawden. One is still the ward councillor. How many of the Croft Nimbys have experience of handling large projects, my guess is very few if any. It is never easy to budget to the last penny there will always be problems to contend with. Peter Mallinson

2:45pm Sat 22 Jun 13

Ringer says...

It is puzzling to work out what the anti-Croft campaigners actually hope to achieve, given that the school is now in place and operational.

Despite the overspend, £5.3 is certainly preferable to the average of £6.7m it cost to build the other two new schools mentioned in the article, both of which seem considerably smaller in terms of maximum pupil numbers.
It is puzzling to work out what the anti-Croft campaigners actually hope to achieve, given that the school is now in place and operational. [p] Despite the overspend, £5.3 is certainly preferable to the average of £6.7m it cost to build the other two new schools mentioned in the article, both of which seem considerably smaller in terms of maximum pupil numbers. Ringer

4:45pm Sat 22 Jun 13

Hmmmf says...

Peter Mallinson wrote:
I get the impression that the Croft Nimbys just like to keep the subject in the public eye.
How many of the Croft Nimbys have experience of handling large projects, my guess is very few if any. It is never easy to budget to the last penny there will always be problems to contend with

Nice Aunt Sally attack on the 'Croft Nimbys'. Why do you get that impression, Peter? Certainly not from the article, which is based entirely on an Adver FOI request and makes no mention at all of 'Croft Nimbys'.

Good try at deflecting attention from this massive overspend though. 'To the last penny'... Seems the council, which does have 'experience of handling large projects,' found it difficult to budget to the last £293,501 even after setting aside more than 11% of the total budget for 'contingencies'. Missing a budgetary target by almost 18% is hardly brilliant project management. Think how much wifi £793,501.71 could've bought.
[quote][p][bold]Peter Mallinson[/bold] wrote: I get the impression that the Croft Nimbys just like to keep the subject in the public eye. How many of the Croft Nimbys have experience of handling large projects, my guess is very few if any. It is never easy to budget to the last penny there will always be problems to contend with[/quote] Nice Aunt Sally attack on the 'Croft Nimbys'. Why do you get that impression, Peter? Certainly not from the article, which is based entirely on an Adver FOI request and makes no mention at all of 'Croft Nimbys'. Good try at deflecting attention from this massive overspend though. 'To the last penny'... Seems the council, which does have 'experience of handling large projects,' found it difficult to budget to the last £293,501 even after setting aside more than 11% of the total budget for 'contingencies'. Missing a budgetary target by almost 18% is hardly brilliant project management. Think how much wifi £793,501.71 could've bought. Hmmmf

5:20pm Sat 22 Jun 13

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

Peter Mallinson wrote:
I get the impression that the Croft Nimbys just like to keep the subject in the public eye.

The school is built, the children are attending and receiving a good education.

Why is it that Councillor Bluh is always named.

The three councillors directly involved in the original plans were, Councillor Mattock, Councillor Foley and Councillor Bawden.

One is still the ward councillor.

How many of the Croft Nimbys have experience of handling large projects, my guess is very few if any. It is never easy to budget to the last penny there will always be problems to contend with.
The most demanding need for primary schooling was never Old Town and South Swindon; it is and has been for some time in North Swindon.

This was Blur's pet project with the modular design; he was always the spokes person (and in the photo opportunities) for it, telling us how wonderful it would be; how the council would sell the design to other councils and so on.

Remind me how many other councils have even looked into using the design etc?
[quote][p][bold]Peter Mallinson[/bold] wrote: I get the impression that the Croft Nimbys just like to keep the subject in the public eye. The school is built, the children are attending and receiving a good education. Why is it that Councillor Bluh is always named. The three councillors directly involved in the original plans were, Councillor Mattock, Councillor Foley and Councillor Bawden. One is still the ward councillor. How many of the Croft Nimbys have experience of handling large projects, my guess is very few if any. It is never easy to budget to the last penny there will always be problems to contend with.[/p][/quote]The most demanding need for primary schooling was never Old Town and South Swindon; it is and has been for some time in North Swindon. This was Blur's pet project with the modular design; he was always the spokes person (and in the photo opportunities) for it, telling us how wonderful it would be; how the council would sell the design to other councils and so on. Remind me how many other councils have even looked into using the design etc? LordAshOfTheBrake

6:28pm Sat 22 Jun 13

MrAngry says...

The cost for sheet piling, poor ground conditions and excavations due to site levels are only unforeseen conditions if the original ground investigation was done on the cheap and was inadequate.
The cost for sheet piling, poor ground conditions and excavations due to site levels are only unforeseen conditions if the original ground investigation was done on the cheap and was inadequate. MrAngry

10:39pm Sat 22 Jun 13

umpcah says...

Hmmmf wrote:
When asked to explain the overspend in a Freedom of Information inquiry, Swindon Council responded: "If we hadn't gone over budget, we'd have been under budget."
Sounds like they`re telling the truth at last !
[quote][p][bold]Hmmmf[/bold] wrote: When asked to explain the overspend in a Freedom of Information inquiry, Swindon Council responded: "If we hadn't gone over budget, we'd have been under budget."[/p][/quote]Sounds like they`re telling the truth at last ! umpcah

12:11am Sun 23 Jun 13

Eastern Badger says...

As Lord Ash said - wrong place and time - demand is north and central - Bluh stuck his name to this but took the right time to cop out. New leaders no different - second rate politicians relying on third rate advice. They will not sell this idea to anyone as a success! FOI again - good old Adver - very imaginative eh??? This was obvious from day one.
As Lord Ash said - wrong place and time - demand is north and central - Bluh stuck his name to this but took the right time to cop out. New leaders no different - second rate politicians relying on third rate advice. They will not sell this idea to anyone as a success! FOI again - good old Adver - very imaginative eh??? This was obvious from day one. Eastern Badger

10:53am Sun 23 Jun 13

Ringer says...

@Eastern Badger: to prospective buyers, whether the Croft school was built in the most beneficial location is of no interest.

They will be looking at the cost and the speed it can be put together. From the figures provided in the article, it seems it is a money saving solution.
@Eastern Badger: to prospective buyers, whether the Croft school was built in the most beneficial location is of no interest. [p] They will be looking at the cost and the speed it can be put together. From the figures provided in the article, it seems it is a money saving solution. Ringer

3:13pm Sun 23 Jun 13

Bobfm , says...

Ringer wrote:
Hmmmf wrote:
When asked to explain the overspend in a Freedom of Information inquiry, Swindon Council responded: "If we hadn't gone over budget, we'd have been under budget."
It's a bit of a classic.

Shame the project ran over budget, but most public sector expenditure usually does... why? Because it's not their money they're spending, it's ours.

Strange how the first two comments on this article are by the same person using two different logins.
Oh, the irony ...
[quote][p][bold]Ringer[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Hmmmf[/bold] wrote: When asked to explain the overspend in a Freedom of Information inquiry, Swindon Council responded: "If we hadn't gone over budget, we'd have been under budget."[/p][/quote]It's a bit of a classic. [p] Shame the project ran over budget, but most public sector expenditure usually does... why? Because it's not their money they're spending, it's ours. [p] Strange how the first two comments on this article are by the same person using two different logins.[/p][/quote]Oh, the irony ... Bobfm ,

9:30am Mon 24 Jun 13

OldTown90 says...

Even the then ward councillors said the £500 000 wasn't enough and that they had asked for £700,000

An awful lot of money for road work mitigations for a site that the council's own feasibility report described as having 'excellent access'

Dale Heenan, as chair of planning was asleep on the job that night.

But lets not forget that the true and damning cost of this project was inflicted on the children of North Swindon who were denied desperately needed school places close to where they live while the council squandered money on yet another vanity project.

"This time next year we'll be millionaires Rodney" - and he bought it hook, line and sinker.
Even the then ward councillors said the £500 000 wasn't enough and that they had asked for £700,000 An awful lot of money for road work mitigations for a site that the council's own feasibility report described as having 'excellent access' Dale Heenan, as chair of planning was asleep on the job that night. But lets not forget that the true and damning cost of this project was inflicted on the children of North Swindon who were denied desperately needed school places close to where they live while the council squandered money on yet another vanity project. "This time next year we'll be millionaires Rodney" - and he bought it hook, line and sinker. OldTown90

9:35am Mon 24 Jun 13

OldTown90 says...

Peter Mallinson wrote:
I get the impression that the Croft Nimbys just like to keep the subject in the public eye.

The school is built, the children are attending and receiving a good education.

Why is it that Councillor Bluh is always named.

The three councillors directly involved in the original plans were, Councillor Mattock, Councillor Foley and Councillor Bawden.

One is still the ward councillor.

How many of the Croft Nimbys have experience of handling large projects, my guess is very few if any. It is never easy to budget to the last penny there will always be problems to contend with.
"It is never easy to budget to the last penny there will always be problems to contend with."

There speaks the voice of experience ..... didn't Adult Social Care budgets go belly up under your stewardship?

Another fine mess the people are left with.
[quote][p][bold]Peter Mallinson[/bold] wrote: I get the impression that the Croft Nimbys just like to keep the subject in the public eye. The school is built, the children are attending and receiving a good education. Why is it that Councillor Bluh is always named. The three councillors directly involved in the original plans were, Councillor Mattock, Councillor Foley and Councillor Bawden. One is still the ward councillor. How many of the Croft Nimbys have experience of handling large projects, my guess is very few if any. It is never easy to budget to the last penny there will always be problems to contend with.[/p][/quote]"It is never easy to budget to the last penny there will always be problems to contend with." There speaks the voice of experience ..... didn't Adult Social Care budgets go belly up under your stewardship? Another fine mess the people are left with. OldTown90

2:09pm Mon 24 Jun 13

Peter Mallinson says...

No, but they got rid of a problem department that was totally out of control with their costs.

We saved £3.7 million during my time and put the whole thing on a sound financial footing with the setting up of a social enterprise.

I think that is called leaving a legacy, not that any Labour apologist would understand the meaning.
No, but they got rid of a problem department that was totally out of control with their costs. We saved £3.7 million during my time and put the whole thing on a sound financial footing with the setting up of a social enterprise. I think that is called leaving a legacy, not that any Labour apologist would understand the meaning. Peter Mallinson

2:23pm Mon 24 Jun 13

Davey Gravey says...

Peter Mallinson wrote:
No, but they got rid of a problem department that was totally out of control with their costs.

We saved £3.7 million during my time and put the whole thing on a sound financial footing with the setting up of a social enterprise.

I think that is called leaving a legacy, not that any Labour apologist would understand the meaning.
More like passing the Buck and washing hands of it. Typical Tory policy. Sell sell sell.
[quote][p][bold]Peter Mallinson[/bold] wrote: No, but they got rid of a problem department that was totally out of control with their costs. We saved £3.7 million during my time and put the whole thing on a sound financial footing with the setting up of a social enterprise. I think that is called leaving a legacy, not that any Labour apologist would understand the meaning.[/p][/quote]More like passing the Buck and washing hands of it. Typical Tory policy. Sell sell sell. Davey Gravey

3:11pm Mon 24 Jun 13

OldTown90 says...

Peter Mallinson wrote:
No, but they got rid of a problem department that was totally out of control with their costs.

We saved £3.7 million during my time and put the whole thing on a sound financial footing with the setting up of a social enterprise.

I think that is called leaving a legacy, not that any Labour apologist would understand the meaning.
How can something outsourced be a legacy???

Labour apologist - that's another thing you've got wrong.
[quote][p][bold]Peter Mallinson[/bold] wrote: No, but they got rid of a problem department that was totally out of control with their costs. We saved £3.7 million during my time and put the whole thing on a sound financial footing with the setting up of a social enterprise. I think that is called leaving a legacy, not that any Labour apologist would understand the meaning.[/p][/quote]How can something outsourced be a legacy??? Labour apologist - that's another thing you've got wrong. OldTown90

3:18pm Mon 24 Jun 13

OldTown90 says...

Peter Mallinson wrote:
No, but they got rid of a problem department that was totally out of control with their costs.

We saved £3.7 million during my time and put the whole thing on a sound financial footing with the setting up of a social enterprise.

I think that is called leaving a legacy, not that any Labour apologist would understand the meaning.
Wasn't the mess created by your immediate predecessor?

How can outsourcing a service leave a legacy??.

Labour apologist - I think you're confusing me with some one else. Can you clarify please
[quote][p][bold]Peter Mallinson[/bold] wrote: No, but they got rid of a problem department that was totally out of control with their costs. We saved £3.7 million during my time and put the whole thing on a sound financial footing with the setting up of a social enterprise. I think that is called leaving a legacy, not that any Labour apologist would understand the meaning.[/p][/quote]Wasn't the mess created by your immediate predecessor? How can outsourcing a service leave a legacy??. Labour apologist - I think you're confusing me with some one else. Can you clarify please OldTown90

6:37pm Tue 25 Jun 13

Peter Mallinson says...

In the Adult Social Care Department the average hours worked per employee per week had dropped to Eight hours, yes 8.

But everyone received full pay or part time equivalent. Nice work if you can get it but not very fair on the council tax payers.

This nonsense was stopped.

The legacy I refer to is the Social Enterprise that I helped to set up to run the ASC properly. This it is doing and winning awards at the same time.

It was not a popular move with the labour party to shut down a council department, Unison seemed to get a little angry about it.

Sorry for the remark about "labour apologist" I was not referring to an individual but rather the group who regularly post on this site.
In the Adult Social Care Department the average hours worked per employee per week had dropped to Eight hours, yes 8. But everyone received full pay or part time equivalent. Nice work if you can get it but not very fair on the council tax payers. This nonsense was stopped. The legacy I refer to is the Social Enterprise that I helped to set up to run the ASC properly. This it is doing and winning awards at the same time. It was not a popular move with the labour party to shut down a council department, Unison seemed to get a little angry about it. Sorry for the remark about "labour apologist" I was not referring to an individual but rather the group who regularly post on this site. Peter Mallinson

11:36pm Tue 25 Jun 13

Eastern Badger says...

OldTown90 wrote:
Even the then ward councillors said the £500 000 wasn't enough and that they had asked for £700,000

An awful lot of money for road work mitigations for a site that the council's own feasibility report described as having 'excellent access'

Dale Heenan, as chair of planning was asleep on the job that night.

But lets not forget that the true and damning cost of this project was inflicted on the children of North Swindon who were denied desperately needed school places close to where they live while the council squandered money on yet another vanity project.

"This time next year we'll be millionaires Rodney" - and he bought it hook, line and sinker.
Latest posts appear to have strayed into a strange area of blame - this was the ex leaders project fully supported by Cllr Bawden and others. Ex councillor v AN Other doesn't add much to our knowledge? What really counts is was the school required in that awkward location - it is not up to us to support one vanity project to make SCS viable when recent publicity shows it may not be.
[quote][p][bold]OldTown90[/bold] wrote: Even the then ward councillors said the £500 000 wasn't enough and that they had asked for £700,000 An awful lot of money for road work mitigations for a site that the council's own feasibility report described as having 'excellent access' Dale Heenan, as chair of planning was asleep on the job that night. But lets not forget that the true and damning cost of this project was inflicted on the children of North Swindon who were denied desperately needed school places close to where they live while the council squandered money on yet another vanity project. "This time next year we'll be millionaires Rodney" - and he bought it hook, line and sinker.[/p][/quote]Latest posts appear to have strayed into a strange area of blame - this was the ex leaders project fully supported by Cllr Bawden and others. Ex councillor v AN Other doesn't add much to our knowledge? What really counts is was the school required in that awkward location - it is not up to us to support one vanity project to make SCS viable when recent publicity shows it may not be. Eastern Badger

10:46am Wed 26 Jun 13

Peter Mallinson says...

Just answering questions !!!
Just answering questions !!! Peter Mallinson

10:51am Wed 26 Jun 13

Peter Mallinson says...

I have asked this before and I ask again.

What is the Nimbys end game.

The school is built.
The children are attending.

Please would someone give a simple answer.
I have asked this before and I ask again. What is the Nimbys end game. The school is built. The children are attending. Please would someone give a simple answer. Peter Mallinson

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree