Letter to Editor: SFG College: Mr Halfon needs to answer more questions
Politics / Thu 24th Aug 2023 at 10:46am
TWENTY million pounds of public money was spent on building the Sir Frederick Gibberd school in Harlow to provide desperately needed additional school places. Yet after just two years, pupils are back in temporary classrooms or being bussed around to other schools because the building is dangerously unsafe and is likely to need demolition.
Our current MP, Conservative Mr Halfon, complacently says that the Government will pay for repairs or a replacement. But this is tax payers money, coming from the existing schools’ budget, being spent to rectify a chaotic situation that would not have happened under a competent government. Money that cannot now be spent elsewhere.
This incompetent Government chose to use a building contractor that was not even a member of the trade body for modular design builders to build a modular design school, a company that has conveniently gone bankrupt so they cannot be pursued for the rebuild costs of SFG or the other two or three schools that they constructed that have needed demolition.
After recent revelations about Conservative donors, family members and friends profiting hugely from dodgy PPE contracts at the expense of the tax payer Mr Halfon should answer the following questions.
1) Did any of the directors of Caledonia Modular have any links to the Conservative party?
2) Who chose Caledonia Modular, a company not a member of the modular building trade body, to construct these modular buildings?
3) Who oversaw the construction, ensuring it met building standards and who signed the buildings off as safe and fit for purpose?
SFG was self certificated it harder to say an answer to your point 3, but as local building control still falls within Harlow DC remit at any point the political leader of Harlow DC could have asked for a review , visited site , called in construction process. etc. The building of SFG was happening during 2019 into 2020 so the person with the overall oversite / call in control of any of the works would be if my memory serve me right that may have been you?
I may be wrong about this, but think I read somewhere that the school was built in just 12 weeks? How can any building constructors get it done in such as short time? What was the quality of the materials as it seems like it was done by cowboy builders on the cheap. Although the answer to that is that it was not cheap, given the amount of money which was spent on it which runs into millions?
Oh dear Matthew, a typical Tory response to criticism, looking to blame others for the chaos you have caused. As I am sure you really know, SFG was completed in August of 2021. It was a building commissioned by the DfE, under Conservative control since 2010. Education in Harlow is solely the responsibility of Conservative controlled Essex County Council. The construction and monitoring of SFG had nothing at all to do with Harlow District Council, but even if it had been, at the time of completion Harlow Tories were in charge of the Council. Harlow residents will watch the demolition of this building with dismay. They hit potholes every time they drive through the town. They know that the new hospital, promised so often by Mr Halfon, still has not been built. They know how difficult it is to get a doctor's appointment. Making ends meet keeps getting harder. These things are the result of poor decisions made by Conservatives at local and national level. Residents know this and they do not like you trying to balme others.
Mr Ingall must be thinking of when his inept Labour administration ran the Council when he refers the number of potholes they left. Has he not noticed that this year Harlow has benefited from the most extensive road repairs programme in decades thanks to the tireless lobbying by the Council and our County councillors. Something his administration failed completely to do. His administration left our roads looking like a lunar landscape and our town centre like a third world shanty. This administration is holding true to its manifesto pledge to regenerate the Town Centre and has entered into a process ground-breaking partnership with Hill to undertake this task. Labour did nothing.
I keep on saying it but there is far to many people in Harlow now and there is just not the infrastructure to support so many people and this is the result. You dont have to be a rocket scientist to see what the future looks like for Harlow. This school was prob thrown together,a rush job and made with crap materials because school places were in short supply and here we have the end result. Yet still more people are coming to our once great town,so the future looks very bleak for Harlow.
Mr Leppard, you know full well that maintenance of Harlow's roads is and always has been the responsibility of Conservative controlled Essex County Council. Are you trying to mislead residents, possibly to divert attention from the matter in hand, notably the chaos caused by the defective construction of SFG, a building commissioned by the Conservatives and the oversight of which was farmed out by the Conservatives to a private company?
Here we go again Both Labour and the Conservatives bickering and playing political football whilst Harlow children yet again suffer, Maybe it's time to kick both parties into touch and vote independent non party political local people who care more about their constituents than towing the party line
Mr Ingall, I assure you that I am fully aware of the fact that ECC is responsible for highways maintenance and I am not trying to mislead anybody. I would also point out that it was you who mentioned potholes and not Cllr Saggers. However, having raised it you should accept the facts. Your administration in 2021 undertook an almost single issue campaign: "Fix our potholes", which was somewhat bizarre that you had been in administration for almost a decade without engaging constructively or forcefully with ECC to resolve it. Be under no illusions, we also encountered resistance and obfuscation from ECC, but perhaps we were more relentless and focused in order to get the results needed. As I said, you brought up the potholes.
James Leppard, a more feasible take on the pothole issue be that Tory controlled Essex County Council, in a politically charged move, cynically refused to engage with the Labour administration. Your boss Mr Halfon has been loudly claiming it’s he who has got things done, but he needs to be very careful. He keeps publishing lists of roads which will be sorted in any given month but clearly isn’t following up on this. His June memo informed us that Maddox Rd was, amongst others, to be repaired in that month. The only work undertaken was to renew white lining THROUGH a pothole. Is that, to quote one of Mr Halfons favourite phrases, a ‘good outcome?’
You guys commenting are the worst and do your party no favours just blame gaming why its children and parents that will suffer you are all honestly embarassing
*brings the popcorn* Pedro, spot on! It's embarrassing to see the parties slinging the proverbial at each other, and look again who looses... The tax payer. Still the council/governing bodies know best as they're here to govern us and keep us in check... What a joke. Just proof that tenders and all the public sector red tape and requirements are just lip service. Amazing after such a big contract the business is no longer. Rising like the phoenix as the only winner. Popcorn anybody? I have bitter and salty, or sweet and sickly
Here we go again, squabbling like school children. I doubt any of you supposed politicians could run a bath let alone anything else. Pathetic
Honestly ^^ its so bad and James leppard you are the absolute worst for it out of anyone that visits this page. Work together hekp to sort out the mess instead of point scoring its embarassing. Im not a parent with kids at this school but if i was and see this i would be fuming. I dont support labour or the tories so ive not got a horse in this race
What ever is said and done.....This happened on this government s watch, this councils watch.....this starts at the bottom, right the way to the top..