COUNCIL EXPLAINS SCHOOL DEMOLITION REASONS

The Council of the Isles of Scilly has reiterated its reasons for demolishing the former Secondary School. 

Questions have been raised in the community about whether the building at Carn Thomas could have been developed rather than knocked down.

Speaking at last night's public meeting on St Mary's, Senior Manager for Strategic Development Diana Mompoloki explained that factors related to funding and safety made it inadvisable to retain the site. 

She said: "We've been advised by the Homes & Communities Agency, which funds affordable housing, that the way to make the project more fundable by them for affordable housing is to demolish the current site. 

"We did look in detail at whether any of the building could be refurbished but because of its construction methodology, the type of material we used and the asbestos that's throughout the building that wasn't possible. And you'd have a pig ugly development sat there, to be perfectly frank.

"Knocking it down has incurred a total cost of somewhere around £550,000 including all the fees and all the professional surveys... but that de-risks the site intensively for a developer coming in.

"And to be honest, the structure is unsafe. Personally I feel slightly uncomfortable walking under the hanging over bit."

Council CEO Theo Leijser said: "The other main advantage is that by clearing the site you will be able to develop much higher density and create better designed homes rather than being stuck with the existing footprint."

Councillors explained that much of the overspends on the new school and airport were due to the integrity of the ground on which they were built. Senior Manager for Community Services Aisling Hick said that soil condition tests on the site of the new school at Old Town suggested that it was underpinned by granite. It turned out to be mostly loose soil, resulting in increased costs.

Cllr Andrew Combes said: "At least clearing the site gives us the best possible chance of knowing what we're dealing with in terms of ground conditions."

Aisling added: "The ground condition on Scilly is so unpredictable so that's why the demolition is critical here. The runway overspend was caused by not knowing what was underneath."

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