Published: 26 September 2012
By RICHARD OSLEY
The opening of the new UCL Academy in Swiss Cottage has been delayed again – and this time the Town Hall says it is angry with building contractors who it claims have broken promises. The school sponsored by the Bloomsbury university was due to open at the start of term, but was delayed after the collapse of a sub-contractor working on the site.
Pupils had been told the flagship education project would be ready after the half term break but the council said today that this will now not happen and there is no guaranteed first day for students eager to get started in the new buildings at the top of Adelaide Road. Main contractors BAM have told the council on Monday that they still needed to complete safety tests.
Labour education chief Councillor Angela Mason said: "Camden has done everything possible to raise problems early and press for transparency about the delays – BAM has made promises at the highest level, which have repeatedly been broken. The original building programme was ambitious, and we appreciate that the contractors were working to a challenging timetable. However, we feel that the company has managed the delay badly by refusing to acknowledge, and deal with the problems, earlier on."
She added: "The further delay to UCL Academy has forced children to be in temporary accommodation for nearly half of their first year of A levels. The delay to Swiss Cottage special school is completely unacceptable for this very vulnerable group of children and also a wholly unnecessary situation. Whilst officers questioned continually whether BAM’s programme was achievable, BAM would not confirm that dates would be missed in time to make suitable alternative arrangements. I’m angry that we have been so badly let down by the contractor and that young people have been put in this position.”