Parkinson Lane Community Primary School: Inflation leaves Halifax primary school with £800,000 shortfall in cash it needs to build new school hall but head says 'we need that extra space'

Spiralling construction inflation has left a Halifax primary school with an £800,000 shortfall to fund a much-needed new hall.
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Headteacher at Parkinson Lane Community Primary School Gugsy Ahmed told Calderdale councillors this was the reason behind an application to vary conditions, including design and materials, for an already-approved planning application for the build.

The proposed changes were “quite significant” in terms of both layout and materials, planning officers said.

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Supporting the school, Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park) said the new hall would be built at the back of the building where very few homes overlooked it and the view from Parkinson Lane would be unaffected.

Parkinson Lane Community Primary School at Parkinson Lane, Halifax. Picture: GoogleParkinson Lane Community Primary School at Parkinson Lane, Halifax. Picture: Google
Parkinson Lane Community Primary School at Parkinson Lane, Halifax. Picture: Google

Mr Ahmed said the 561-pupil, 98-staff member school was one of the busiest primary schools in Calderdale and needed the extra hall.

But the reason the school – rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted – needed to consider the changes was driven by economic necessity caused by inflation ramping up construction costs.

Mr Ahmed said: “The costs that we are having to endure in terms of building in that style is just insurmountable.”

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Coun Steven Leigh (Con, Ryburn) wondered if alternative funding could be sought to build in the approved style and asked how big the shortfall was.

Mr Ahmed said the inflation had driven costs for the project up to around £1.6m, of which the available funding would cover half.

“To raise another £800,000 will be long after I have retired,” he said.

“That’s not going to be raised in a school with diminishing budgets, it’s not going to be there before the planning permission runs out.

“We need that extra space.

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“In my opinion this design will be used for generations to come,” he said.

Planning officers had recommended the application to vary the build and materials for the new extension be refused.

Calderdale Council’s planning committee agreed to defer the application after hearing the reason for the recommendation was that not enough details about the changes had been provided.

Councillors agreed to defer the application so the school can ensure the necessary information is given to officers before the application comes before them again.

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