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Stepnell nabs school scheme

CONTRACTS - HEREFORD

MIDLANDS firm Stepnell has won an £18 million Private Finance Initiative education deal on the Welsh borders after months of negotiations.

Herefordshire District Council will confirm Stepnell as preferred bidder later this month, after ruling out a partnership between property consultant King Sturge and Costain.

The formal appointment has been delayed by the departure of the council's project manager.

A source from PFI consultant Precept confirmed the decision had been made, adding: 'Stepnell should be appointed as preferred bidder fairly soon.'

Stepnell will build the 900-pupil Whitecross High School in Hereford, as well as shared community sports facilities.

Costain stepped in as main contractor on the King Sturge bid after its original partner Ballast plc went into administration.