South Scotland

Dumfries' North West Campus closure costs kept under wraps

North West Community Campus
Image caption The council has declined to reveal the costs of the closure of the multi-million pound campus

A council has declined to reveal the full financial impact of the closure of a new school campus on safety grounds.

A BBC Freedom of Information request asked for a cost breakdown of closing the North West Community Campus in Dumfries in September last year.

It meant pupils had to be transported to other schools and other buildings were pressed back into use.

However, Dumfries and Galloway Council said that while it did hold details of the cost, it would not release them.

The campus opened in August last year but shut the following month after pupils and staff were hurt in incidents.

One child was hit by a falling whiteboard, and a sliding door came off its rails.

The phased return of children is ongoing with Langlands special school pupils and nursery and primary children now back on site.

Secondary pupils go back in June.

Future costs

During the closure of the new campus, children have been transported to other schools and buildings it was meant to replace were pressed back into use.

The BBC asked if the council could reveal how much it had cost to date and a breakdown of where expenses had been incurred.

It also sought an estimate of future costs if available.

It argued that releasing the figures need not compromise any council bid for compensation.

However, the council said that while it held the information it had decided to withhold it.

'Potential recovery'

It said any disclosure could prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs.

The local authority said it had taken into account the public interest but concluded it would be best served by withholding the information.

A council statement said: "We can't release a figure at present as the matter is ongoing and we don't know what the final total figure will be.

"We aim to recover as much of that figure as possible.

"We don't want to prejudice the potential recovery of this money in any way.

"Obviously, until this matter can be satisfactorily concluded, it is commercially sensitive."

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