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Dorset BSF job goes £15m over budget

Construction of a new school in Dorset has bust its budget by £15.6 million due to escalating materials prices and design changes.

The cost of rebuilding the Queen Elizabeth’s School in Wimborne, under the Government’s Building Schools for the Future programme, was originally estimated at £35 million but it has now reached £50 million.

Dorset County Council said the increase in the cost of the work is due to “soaring costs of building materials, rising inflation and changes to the design.”

It confirmed that the new price had been agreed after “extensive negotiations” with the scheme’s design and build contractors.

The council said that, despite the increase in cost, the scheme remained “good value for money”.

A council statement said: “The existing school has an outstanding maintenance bill of around £20 million – this level of investment from the county council, topped up with more than £31 million in Government funding, gives East Dorset a brand new school for the same cost of repairing the old buildings.”

Council leader Angus Campbell said: “No-one is happy that the budget to rebuild the school has been pushed beyond the original estimate, but the increase in costs has been largely beyond our control.”

Foundation work is currently underway and the new-look school will include woodchip-burning boilers, solar power, rainwater recycling, recycled building materials and low energy usage.