New £1m special needs school in Portsmouth in need of repairs due to leaky roof

FEARS a recently renovated £1m special needs school in Portsmouth could become a 'money pit' have been raised after it was revealed extra cash was needed to fix its leaky roof.

Monday, 20th January 2020, 3:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 10:44 am
The former Harbour School in Fratton, which is now The Lantern.

Work to create The Lantern School, in the ground floor of the former Harbour School in Fratton, was fast-tracked last year and took only 66 days to complete.

The project, which was tailored for 14 young people with significant physical and mental disabilities, was intended to serve as a temporary site for three years.

During a Portsmouth City Council meeting officers updated education boss Councillor Suzy Horton on repairs needed at the school.

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'State-of-the-art' school for special needs students in Portsmouth completed

Caroline Corcoran, the council's head of sufficiency, participation and resources for education, said: 'We didn't really do any work on the roof, that was for the inside of the building.

'The work was really about creating the inside of the building.

'We have got a few leaks now. We think it's probably two or three minor patch repairs.

'It's not a good quality building. What we have effectively done is build a building inside a building.'

However, Tory spokesman for education, Cllr Terry Norton, had concerns costs could increase.

He said: 'We spent over £1m on that school for 14 students, is it likely to have future issues?

'Is this going to be a money pit over the next three years where we have to keep patching it up and then we find it's gone from a £1m project to £2m?'

Ms Corcoran added: 'It was always intended to be a temporary solution.

'There will be maintenance costs.'

The new space in the school has been split into two main areas with the first comprising of a specialist classroom, a sensory suite, a group teaching room, a multi-functional practical space and toilet facilities.

And the second area provides one-to-one spaces, a common room, laundry rooms and a second sensory space for older children.

Other options were considered last year including placing the pupils in independent settings, however, this was estimated to cost £1.5m for eight pupils over three years.

An investigation on what repairs are needed will now be carried out before costs will be known.