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Expansion delay of Orchard Primary School in Watford 'will have severe impact'
The expansion of Orchard Primary School in Watford may not be ready when it takes on extra pupils in September next year, planning officials have warned.
The school, off Gammons Lane, is due to increase its intake by 30 pupils next year and construction work is being carried out on a permanent extension.
The company carrying out the work, HSBP, recently informed Hertfordshire County Council the work is unlikely to be finished in time.
The delay has been lambasted as "project management failure on an epic scale" by a Watford politician and former governor at the school.
The Conservative councillor in charge of education at the county council has said the situation is "regrettable" but there is still time to find a solution.
Watford Labour councillor, Asif Khan, attacked the delay at Orchard saying it would have a severe impact on the pupils.
He said: "This is happening due to bureaucracy and incompetence. They have failed to meet a deadline for a new build on a junior school.
"If it was not such a tragedy it would be a farce. It is impacting the school community and the kids who will be uprooted. It is absolutely awful.
"These proposals were delayed for a year to get it on time and they still missed the target. It is project management failure on an epic scale.
"They will be taking on extra classes with no room and construction workers everywhere. It is a complete mess."
Hertfordshire County Council’s ruling cabinet voted to expand the school along with nine other around the county in July to help head of a looming admissions shortfall.
Councillor Chris Hayward, the county council deputy leader and portfolio holder for Enterprise, Education & Skills, said: "Clearly it is a regrettable situation. We are not going to see the construction works completed by 2014.
"There are a number of reasons for that: it took time to acquire the allotment land and we have had various delays, for which I am not making excuses. It is not a good situation.
Councillor Hayward said the council was now working towards having the extension constructed to a state where it could be used by the pupils, even if it is not entirely finished.
He added: "We want to offer the children the best possible accommodation for this. We have time to work on solutions."
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