CPO objections hit Lancashire schools timetable

Two new schools in East Lancashire are likely to open one year late due to delays caused by legal objections to Compulsory Purchase Orders.

The completion date for Marsden Heights Community College in Brierfield, and Unity College in Burnley is expected to be put back to September 2010.

Both schools are part of Lancashire's £250m Building Schools for the Future programme being delivered by Catalyst Lend Lease.

A public inquiry in August centred on Towneley playing fields in Burnley and Bent Head in Brierfield. A decision has yet to be made by the Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Nine sites are involved with Marsden Heights and Unity.

Lancashire County Councillor Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for children and young people, said: "It is a shame that campaign groups opposing the scheme are holding up these new schools and are delaying the provision of state-of the-art facilities for local children.

"Whatever the outcome of these legal processes we will find sites for the new schools and we will keep our promises to provide the best possible learning environment.

"As things stand it is likely Marsden Heights and Unity will have to be moved into the third wave of our building programme."

Building at Burnley Campus, Shuttleworth College in Padiham, and Pendle Vale College and Pendle Community High School in Nelson is underway and on target for September 2008.

Work at Sir John Thursby Community College and Ridgewood Community High School in Burnley has started and is on schedule for September 2009.

The third wave of schools are Blessed Trinity Roman Catholic College, Hameldon Community College, and The Rose School, all in Burnley.

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