Progress on a significant building programme, underpinning Hampshire County Council’s commitment to ensure every child in Hampshire has a school place and to provide new 21st century-style children’s homes for vulnerable children, has been met with approval by the County Council’s Leader.
Commenting on a major programmes report at his recent Decision Day, Councillor Roy Perry said he was “extremely pleased with the progress of Children’s Services’ major programmes”. He explained that; “the County Council’s capacity and successful financial stewardship has enabled the Authority to maintain its commitment to the future generation of Hampshire residents – providing facilities for children to learn, grow and to be kept safe from harm and neglect.”
In 2016, the County Council embarked on one of its largest ever Children’s Services capital programmes, with investment valued at £308 million. During the period 2013 to 2016 the County Council will have delivered over 6,300 new school places. Projects identified in the three year forward programme to 2019 will deliver a further 11,000 new school places across the county. As part of this programme £7 million has been identified to build six new children’s homes by 2018.
Councillor Perry added: “We are fortunate in Hampshire to have a County Council that can call upon the expertise of both our award winning in-house Property Services team, and one of the highest performing Children’s Services Departments in the country. As a result, we are able to provide top quality, functional facilities that are also aesthetically pleasing, energy efficient and sustainable. In addition, our size and scale allows us to deliver effective economies of scale, and ensure that taxpayers receive the best possible value for money.”
Design work has started for a new, all through school for 4 -16 year olds in Horton Heath (similar to The Westgate in Winchester), to serve families moving in to new housing being built in the area. Similarly, schemes to expand secondary schools are also being planned, to ensure there will be sufficient spaces to meet future demand for secondary education.
The first of the six new children’s homes looks set to be completed by December (in the New Forest area). The properties will replace the existing homes that are too large, lack a homely environment or are no longer up to standard. The new homes will be smaller than the present buildings and will be home to four children and their carers. Each home is being built in a location that is near to good transport links, is within walking distance of schools and also within easy reach of local amenities and leisure activities, enabling young people to develop their independence safely.