Issue details

23/00057 - Chilmington School Works

Reason(s) for decision:


A new secondary school is due to be opened at Chilmington Green on land provided to KCC via a developer contribution.  The Department for Education (DfE) is taking responsibility to build the school.  Two issues have arisen which need to be resolved in order to ensure the new school building can be built and open as soon as possible. The legal responsibility for funding the resolution to the issues is a matter of contention and potential legal dispute. 


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: 17/05/2023

Reason for urgency:
To make provision to respond to contractual dispute and continue to support the opening of essential secondary school provision.

Anticipated restriction: Part exempt  - View reasons

Explanation of anticipated restriction:
Detailed report contains information that is commercially sensitive and subject to legal privilege. Public details to be contained in the Record of Decision.

Decision due: 17 May 2023 by Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
Reason: Urgent Decision

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Lead director: Rebecca Spore

Department: Education & Young People's Services

Contact: David Adams, Assistant Director Education (South Kent) Email: Tel: 01233 898559.


Cabinet Committee consultation not viable in via of use of urgency procedures and decision timing.

Financial implications: Detailed funding considerations and the wider financial impact is set out in the Exempt Appendix. The current Basic Need Capital Budget totals £160m (covering the period 2023-26) and will be impacted, at least in the short-term, whilst the legal responsibility for funding the additional costs is resolved and funds recovered. The Basic Need Capital Programme is managed as a series of projects and any additional funding requirement could require re-consideration of other planned activities. However, growing inflationary and other build cost increases including the increased risk of continued use of temporary accommodation supports the progression of this matter as quickly as possible to minimise greater financial costs being incurred.

Legal implications: Detailed legal advice regarding the KCC liabilities and options for redress have been considered by the Decision-maker. The decision represents a recognition of relevant legal risks, balanced against the Policy choice to prioritise the progression of the school project to ensure successful delivery of the school and compliance with KCC’s statutory duty to ensure sufficient school places. Key considerations are set out in the Exempt Report.

Equalities implications: An equalities impact assessment was undertaken in September 2022 relating to the decision to provide forward funding for the infrastructure works. This identified that the need for the new school was significant, and it positively supported secondary school aged children in Ashford, regardless of any protected characteristic. This assessment has been reviewed and updated to confirm no substantive change when considering the programme as a whole. The decision to set resources aside to cover the cost of any claim brought against the County Council in respect of dealing with site contamination of the provision of an electrical sub-station does not raise any new equalities issues.