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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 January 2006, 21:29 GMT
180m PPP schools project revived
Edinburgh City Chambers
Edinburgh Council is set to confirm the preferred bidder
A 180m school building project which was thrown into chaos after a council official leaked confidential material to a bidder is back on track.

Edinburgh Council is set to confirm Axiom Education as its preferred bidder to rebuild eight city schools.

The project ground to a halt in September after construction firm Balfour Beattie raised the alarm about the information it was given.

Deputy education director Colin Dalrymple was sacked as a result.

Construction firm Balfour Beatty withdrew from the tendering process following the incident, which left Axiom as the remaining bidder.

It has been a very, very steep learning curve
Donald Anderson
Edinburgh Council leader

The council had always maintained it was committed to rebuilding the schools, with officials saying they were delighted with Axiom's designs.

Donald Anderson, Edinburgh Council leader, said he was "absolutely delighted" with the news.

"Clearly there was a great deal of anxiety when we had the problems we did.

"It has been a very, very steep learning curve, I think, for a wide range of the people who have been involved.

"This does mean that we are going to build eight new schools. It does mean that we have a massive investment in educational facilities in Edinburgh."

The procurator fiscal has been informed of the Dalrymple case, although police are still investigating and have not submitted an official report.

Bonaly Primary, Juniper Green Primary, Craigroyston High, Forrester High, St Augustine's High, Holy Rood High, Broughton High School and Tynecastle High school are to get new buildings.

Council commended

Lesley Carroll, Holy Rood High head teacher, said: "The PPP Board and City of Edinburgh Council are to be commended for the way in which the whole process has been conducted.

"They have gone to great lengths to involve staff, pupils and parents at every step."

Cllr Rev Ewan Aitken, children and families leader, said: "I'm delighted that our plans to give pupils and teachers the excellent schools they deserve is back on track. It is great news for Edinburgh."

Council chief executive Tom Aitchison said: "We will work with Axiom to try and get this programme back on track as quickly as possible.

"But, whatever the solution chosen, it must represent best value for the council."

Scottish National Party education spokeswoman Fiona Hyslop said the public needed a guarantee that pupils would be allowed out-of-hours access to playgrounds and playing fields built under PPP.

She said: "At a time when concern about the health and fitness of Scotland's children is growing, we must be certain that school grounds will be available to pupils for sport outwith the normal school day.

"That's the very least we should be expecting from the massive expense that is PPP."


SEE ALSO:
Backing for 290m schools scheme
02 Feb 05 |  Scotland
Head shuts school over renovation
28 Oct 04 |  Scotland
Union steps up fight against PPP
05 Jan 04 |  Scotland
Union to probe PPP school backing
02 Jan 04 |  Scotland


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