Joy as work starts at school
THE first sod was turned to mark the start of a �2.4m building project that will transform Cobholm Primary School.For parents, governors, councillors and MP Tony Wright, the simple ceremony symbolised a victory in their long-running battle with officialdom.
THE first sod was turned to mark the start of a �2.4m building project that will transform Cobholm Primary School.
For parents, governors, councillors and MP Tony Wright, the simple ceremony symbolised a victory in their long-running battle with officialdom.
At the start of the year, a series of hold-ups, including a dispute with the Environment Agency over flood protection measures, had threatened to derail the plan and even the school's transition to full primary status.
Before Norfolk County Council's deputy director of children's services Fred Corbett wielded the spade, aided by youngest pupils Lilly Hamilton-Lewis and Bowen Bilyard, both four, he said: “This is a big project, costing more than �2m, and it was right that there were long discussions about trying to get it off the ground.
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“We went right back to the basics to check whether this was the right project and everyone is now convinced this is the right thing for the people of Cobholm.”
He said that by the time contractor RG Carter finished work in a year's time, the community would have a “wonderful, wonderful new school”.
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Headteacher Julie Risby said: “This is a very exciting time for the school. The work will make a huge difference to the range of learning opportunities that the children will receive.”
The project, which involves new construction as well as remodelling of existing buildings, will provide a school hall, kitchen, classrooms, group room, library/ICT suite, admin offices and extra toilets.
Builders hope to have completed noisy piling work over the summer holidays and the project will then be phased to minimise disruption.
Mr Wright, who had led the campaign for parents and governors, said the arrival of builders on the site was tremendous news and a “victory for people power, showing what is achievable when a community pulls together”.
Former county councillor John Holmes, who championed the project at County Hall, said: “This is a great day after a lot of discussions and persuasion and talking to the director of education and cabinet member.”