(a) Transfer of £22,500,000 s106 contributions in regard to Chilmington Green Secondary School to the DfE if the School is delivered via the DfE ‘Wave’ programme;
(b) Approve up to £3.1m from the Children, Young People and Education capital budget to provide the access and service infrastructure required to provide a serviced school site; and
(c) Delegate authority to the Director for Education to take necessary actions, including but not limited to entering into necessary contracts or taking other legal actions as required, to implement the decision.
Reason for the decision
Chilmington Green is a development with consent for 5,750 new homes. A s106 agreement provides a site for a new secondary school and, over time, £22.5m of contributions. The Secretary of State for Education has agreed, in principle, that United Learning Trust can open a new 6FE secondary school in Ashford, on the Chilmington Green site. This is in Wave 13 of the free schools programme. The Department for Education expects Kent County Council to commit to pass over the £22.5m of developer contributions as and when it receives these from the housing developer. This arrangement supports the early delivery of the school and KCC’s cash flow. A formal decision is needed to provide the DfE with surety.
KCC will take transfer of the site for the secondary school from the developer. This will be transferred freehold to the DfE if the wave school proceeds. The site needs to meet the transfer requirements of the DfE, including having utilities provided to the curtilage of the site, access, and a safe walking route from the housing development. The requirements sit with the developer to provide these as part of the transfer requirements in the s106. However, the developer has not yet discharged these obligations. In order to support the delivery of the school, which is needed to secure KCC’s duty to ensure every child can access a high-quality school place, and ensure the Wave funding is not forfeit, KCC is negotiating with the developer for it to deliver these obligations, with the developer refunding the council, with interest. The necessary works have been costed at £3.1m.
Options (other options considered but discarded)
KCC delivers the school itself – KCC does not have the capital funding to deliver the school itself prior to receipt of the s106 contributions which would delay delivery of the school be several years. KCC will be unable to provide the local school places needed to meet the demand in Ashford.
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Division affected: Ashford Rural West;
Notice of proposed decision first published: 16/02/2021
Decision due: Not before 17th Mar 2021 by Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
Reason: To comply with legal requirements for minimum 28 day FED period.
Lead member: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
Lead director: Matt Dunkley CBE
Department: Education & Young People's Services
Contact: Email: Lee.firstname.lastname@example.org.
CYPE Cabinet Committee – 9 March 2021
Financial implications: Funding for Chilmington Green Secondary School has been agreed via a s106 agreement. There are 6 payments linked to both time or occupation triggers totalling £22,500,000 plus indexation. If the School is delivered via the ’wave’ programme it is expected that the s106 payments, are transferred to the DfE as and when they are received by KCC. The £3.1m cost of delivering the site in a condition to enable transfer to the DfE would represent a pressure of the capital budget, but this would be far less significant than these arising from the loss of the wave funding.
Legal implications: Kent County Council (KCC) as the Local Authority has a duty to ensure sufficient school places are available. If this decision does not take place there will be a risk that we cannot meet our statutory duties to provide education provision. KCC will need to give the DfE a commitment to pass over the funding. The s106 with the developer will be varied to provide for the repayment to KCC of the costs of providing access and utilities to the school site, and for mitigating any issues on site which are the developers responsibility under the s106.
Equalities implications: An Equality Impact Assessment has been completed. No adverse impact on protected groups has been identified at this point.