A new Crewe school scheduled to open in two years’ time will be delayed by 12 months because a developer has gone into administration.
The 210-place primary school earmarked for Basford East at Shavington was due to open in September 2025, but a report to next week’s meeting of Cheshire East’s children and families committee says the council now expects the opening to be delayed until 2026. This is because Lane End Developments Construction Ltd has gone into administration.
However, the report also warns if costs to the council escalate because of the delay “this could lead to the scheme being deemed no longer affordable and alternative options to increase capacity in existing schools may have to be considered to keep the council within their existing budget envelope.”
The school is needed because 815 homes are planned as part of the Basford East development. The housing development is to be provided in two phases – phase one is for 490 dwellings, with a S106 contribution of £1.568mn towards the build costs of the new school; phase two, for 325 homes, includes a S106 contribution of £960,000. The report to the committee states: “The site for the new school is located within phase one of the housing development…
“In April 2023 the council were informed that the developer, Lane End Developments Construction Ltd had gone into administration. Consequently, phase one of the development – the site where the new school was due to be situated – has been closed, no contractors are on site and all construction has stopped. The landowner is currently Onward Build Limited.”
The report says phase two of the housing development is at a stage where the services and groundwork are being completed. No houses have been built. It stressed: “This site is owned by Taylor Wimpey, so no link to phase one.”
Delay may cause financial problems
The council anticipates there are sufficient reception places across other schools to cater for the predicted intake of pupils if the opening of the Basford East school is delayed until 2026. But a delay could have a serious financial impact.
Cheshire East approved an £8mn budget for the new primary school in the MTFS (budget) 2023/24 at its full council meeting in February. The council’s head of finance states in the report: “As the scheme has been delayed there is a likelihood that construction costs will have increased by the time the scheme commences again and therefore, if there is a requirement for an increase in the £8mn budget, funding will have to found within the existing children and families approved capital programme, which would have to include any shortfall in S106 funding. This could lead to the scheme being deemed no longer affordable.”
This is the second school planned for South Cheshire which looks set to be delayed. The opening of the new 210-pupil Kingsbourne Academy on the Kingsley Fields development in Nantwich is also to be delayed for a year because of legal, planning and cost-related issues.
The children and families committee meeting takes place at 10am at the council’s HQ at Sandbach on Monday, December 11.