Contract for Leeds primary school expansion is fast-tracked to meet “critical” demand

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An expansion of Armley’s St Bartholomew’s primary school has been fast-tracked as education bosses bid to plug growing demand ahead of the next academic year.

The school, in Strawberry Lane, has taken on additional pupils in each of the past three academic years.

But a report just signed off by senior Leeds City Council officers says the school is still “critically short” of space.

“To meet this deficit it is necessary to undertake expansion works to ensure these facilities are available for September 2017,” the report says.

“As such there is a need to mobilise a contractor quickly to ensure adequate supporting accommodation is delivered within the detailed timeframe.”

The document explains that while a tender process would be the usual and “preferred” method, it is “not possible” in this case as “the risk of non-delivery is too high”.

“If this scheme is not delivered by September 2017, temporary accommodation will be required which places further significant pressure on revenue budgets and is further exacerbated by limited available space on a very constrained site,” it says.

The Leeds Local Education Partnership, with builders Interserve, has now been awarded the contract with a £300,000 funding limit.

A special “waiver” has been applied so that the work can be ordered without further competition.

The report says: “Considering the time pressures of this scheme and the subsequent accelerated programme for delivery, a delivery partner must be mobilised immediately ensuring the critical accommodation is available by September.”

It is hoped that work will start on site-by the end of this month.

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