Goldthorpe sweats on new school promise after funding is slashed

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HOPES for a new, promised school at Goldthorpe are pinned on a new funding bid, after 74 per cent of allocated cash towards the scheme was slashed within Government cuts.

Barnsley Labour Councillor for the Dearne, Alan Gardiner, said the Chancellor’s budget speech next week should indicate whether a bid for a share in the new Regional Growth Fund has any chance of success.

Originally, £20m was earmarked for the Dearne towns’ regeneration scheme, within which Goldthorpe was to have its new primary school, a Main Street uplift and new and improved housing.

The Masterplan was approved two years ago and £4m has already been spent.

Demolition work began as planned this week, but local people have voiced their fears that a new school might never materialise.

Coun Gardiner said: “Our funding for this much needed scheme has been cut savagely – we expected a loss of five to 10 per cent... but got 74!

“With Housing Market Renewal grant also about to finish, we are high and dry unless our latest bid is successful. We are pinning all our hopes on that.”

He said priority had been given to the school of 500-plus pupils, which will cost around £9m of the £12m hoped for via the RGF.

Coun Gardiner added: “Our bid has been endorsed by Sheffield City Region and we are hopeful.

“Unfortunately it’s now a waiting and guessing game. We hope the disappearance of funding is a temporary glitch, but we won’t know for sure if we can go ahead with the school for at least a couple of months.”

Mr Gardiner said interest had been shown in Goldthorpe by private developers – adding that the way forward may prove to be a public/private partnership.

Of locals’ fears that cleared land will be sold off for private housing only, he said: “We will do all we can to prevent that happening.

“The primary school here is the one I went to – it’s well past its sell-by date, and we will do all we can to secure the building of a replacement.”