I was going to start this months’ comment on the news of the cancellation of the BSF project, but having re-written this several times as the story unfolds, I’ve decided to not mention it at all. Ooops – too late. By the time this lands on your desk, who knows what else Gove will have apologised for?
BSF improved educational facilities for thousands of pupils and working conditions for teachers. Many of these schools we have featured as case studies in FC&A. Their construction provided employment through (yet) another tough time for our industry, and the continuation of the scheme would have offered some chance of planning a future for everyone involved in the projects, from initial consultation to the schoolchildren yet to start nursery who would have started their full time education in first class conditions. “In the light of the public finances, it would have been irresponsible to carry on regardless with an inflexible, and needlessly complex programme,” said Gove.
Additionally, this has caused chaos to those of us who organise editorial content several weeks in advance – many thanks to the contributors who had to undertake speedy re-writes!
Not just schools – the Homes and Communities Agency also has schemes which will be affected as a result of budget cuts. Some housing projects supported by Kickstart funding and some agency-backed local authority schemes backed by agency grants, are under review.
I’m not saying you should spend money you don’t have, but surely housing, education and health are cornerstones of a sound society. (A triangular one apparently.)
So do we want to start up a Readers’ Forum to discuss these things? Let me know.
Finally, congratulations to Donald William Insall, recently awarded a CBE for services to Conservation Architecture, and Mark Andrews, awarded on OBE for services to Apprenticeships and Training in the Construction Industry.