Council commits £1m to developing application for new free school before a provider is lined up

The Sutton Guardian is reporting that Sutton Council has committed almost a million pounds to develop a planning application for a free school on a local site before a provider has committed to building there.

At the Children, Family and Education Committee meeting on Thursday councillors agreed to endorse the [Sutton Hospital] site as the first site for a new secondary school in 2018 alongside £950,000 for the planning application.

The decision is subject to a cooling off period.

A council spokesman said: “Identifying the professional costs to develop a planning application is a part of every project.

“In this case the local authority is estimating the costs within this particular project so that the provider, when agreed, will still have the scope they need to tailor the project to their needs and curriculum priorities.

“We judge that the risk is exceptionally low based on our discussions with interested providers, our knowledge of the site, and our knowledge of how schools are designed to standard accommodation schedules.

“The council’s view is that developing a planning application for any new school is a cost to the public purse.”

Deputy leader of Sutton Conservatives Councillor Tony Shields said: “This is good money after bad.

“This is Sutton Liberal Democrats using public money in a cynical way in order to conceal the full extent of the disastrous decision to spend £8m on land not suitable for a school.

“Yet they will persist in spending public money on granting themselves planning permission, it is entirely wrong…”

More at: Sutton Council approves almost £1m for school planning application on Sutton Hospital site but still no provider


Can anyone shed any light on what is actually happening here?

Is this a sensible move by the council in anticipation of the need for additional places in the borough or, as opponents suggest, are they throwing good money after bad?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

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Categories: Free Schools, Local authorities and Secondary.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Tory deputy council leader’s comments are laughable & only prove that politicians aren’t worth paper they’re printed on

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Whether you are pro- or anti-free school, surely putting money aside for a school that’ll happen anyway is sensible

  3. brighton118

    SchoolsImprove – Why ? That is not good use of public money ? I for one am very unhappy about this #betteruseofpublicpurse

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