IW Council ‘not able to commit to any definite opening date’ of new Cowes Enterprise building

Parents had understood that it would open in September 2013.

Cowes Enterprise College

Stuart Love, Director of economy and environment at the Isle of Wight council, has told the BBC that the council isn’t able to commit to a definite opening date for much-delayed Cowes Enterprise College.

Back in December 2012, Parents understood that the much-delayed school would be opening in September 2013, when Rachael Fidler, Chair Cowes Pathfinder Trust, wrote to parents saying, “we have reluctantly come to the decision that the College will not occupy the new building during this academic year (September 2012 to August 2013).”

£19,000 spent on experts by IWC, so far
The BBC reveal that the IWC has spent nearly £19,000 on architectural, mechanical and electrical experts to carry out investigations. The council’s report list “snagging” issues have included incomplete work to the building’s roof; water damage to other areas; and some mechanical and electrical installations which were left incomplete.

As to when it might actually open, Stuart Love said, “There are a number of scenarios we are working with which are dependent on the completion of several aspects by the contractor.”

BBC: School opening ‘can’t be guaranteed’

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Tuesday, 26th March, 2013 1:49pm


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Filed under: Cowes, Education, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, North Wight, Top story

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. retiredhack

    26.Mar.2013 2:04pm

    The first thing Stuart Love could think of to say to the BBC was: “It’s extremely frustrating as it is putting a significant amount of pressure on the council and its reputation.”

    Well, everyone has their priorities…

    • Island Monkey

      26.Mar.2013 4:35pm

      Yep, they only think of themselves not the poor students, staff and parents.

      Stupidly the council don’t realise their reputation was lost years ago.

      This building is a monument to incompetence.

    • This man is a walking disaster as everything he touches is plagued thereafter. I have never come across a more bumbling baffoon. He can’t string a response together that makes any sense whatsoever as its loaded with corporate and council non-speak!
      Bet the incoming Academy folk have a diferrent view though?

      I hope the elections really get to the bottom of this and quickly.

    • So Stuart Love has points for the Contractor, Pihl UK. Might be hard to contact them, as they are in a Sherrifs court in Scotland, being sued by a demolition company. Perhaps that company might like to come to Cowes and give us a new site to start again on Cowes Enterprise College?
      Someone has to ask, where is this all going to end? It will be years of recriminations and slopey shoulders by the IW Council, everyone else got it wrong, except them. ONE huge mistake, NO IW Council site manager was appointed to monitor this debacle, that is the catalyst that started this comedy of errors.

  2. Barry Groves

    26.Mar.2013 2:11pm

    Is anyone liable for the delays. Are the builders paying compensation. Has anyone on the Council lost their jobs, I know they have lost their heads and seem more concerned about their own welfare. I am concerned for the I.W. children who are going through all this trauma. Nobody at the Council seems able to make anything happen. They seem quite happy to accept all this trauma and say nothing. People should be sacked for this comedy of errors!

  3. Disgraceful and appalling situation for all the Students and Parents of my old School.I will accept my responsibility and apologize to them as an Adult voter and pledge that I will do all in my power to make sure that those responsible for this debacle in the Ruling Council are not Re-elected.
    Now could we have a sincere apology from those that are responsible.You have just put a blight on the aspirations of so many Young People. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED

  4. Interesting that Pihl UK and a demolition company are in the ScotCourts listings…

    Aberdeen Sheriff Court
    Wednesday 20 March 2013
    Civil – Ordinary Actions
    Options Hearing

    Lawrie (Demolition) Ltd v PIHL UK Ltd

    Anderson Strathern LLP A392/12
    Blacklocks – DR/059778

    From Google cache

  5. walrus and the eggman

    26.Mar.2013 8:26pm

    why do i find myself thinking that the £19,000 could be better spent simply completing the work to get the school open, and then a bill presented to the contractor for incomplete work.
    Instead of spending ridiculous amounts on legal defense when trying to close libraries and cut social care, why not spend a ridiculous amount on prosecuting the contractor for not fulfilling their contract in full.

  6. Walrus, if you think £19,000 can put right the problems in Cowes Enterprise College, you ought to buy shares in a bank in Cyprus! If the IW Council wont release a date, it is because it is BAD news. It is not beyond reason that when contractors were doing ‘first fix’ electrics in CEC that the roof was still leaking, so Governors and the Council told Pihl to plasterboard and finish over the top to try and open the School on schedule. To discover the extent of the damage they will have to strip out the internal finishing’s [that were fitted to cover up the damage] to see the extent of the damage. Reports that contractors had to stop drilling walls when fitting shelves etc as water was pouring out of the wholes, gives you an idea as to the extent of the damage. I estimate Easter 2014 for opening this multi-million pound fiasco – how late is that!!!

  7. Billy Builder

    27.Mar.2013 8:30am

    The problem. that Stuart Love has is that he went into CEC in October last year after being told by Alan Well, George Brown, Rachael Fiddler and Keith Simmons, none of which have any building or project management experience, that the new building was not ready and that there were serious problems with the roof. The building professionals however maintained that the building would be ready by the agreed dates and that there was not a problem with the roof. On 7th march IOWC, their professional advisors, Pihl and Bauder engineer’s all agreed that was absolutely nothing wrong with the roof.

    The reason that Brown, Wells Simmons and Co wanted the delivery stopped was because they did not have the budget to pay the maintenance on the new school, and had failed to take on the knowledge transfer. That is they were. incapable of taking ownership of the school because. the Trust were not prepared.

    I do not know whether or not Love was aware of the real reason for delaying the school, but I suspect he did. I think that the Cowes Mafia offered the next CEO position or the equivalent there of to ensure others took the fall for the Trusts incompetence. Following the failure to deliver the school in November last year, not only has Love waisted 19000 on unnecessary consultant fees, but he has diverted about 400000 to CEC for lightning, IT, and maintenance services that were never part of the pathfinder project, at the expense of every other school on the island.

    His actions with regard to the suspension of the two senior officers in education has also led to the loss of between 3M and 15M of funding to the islands schools in 2014, because no one applied for the discretionary funding.

    The man is incompetent.

    • Billy, I wont ask what you do for a living, but you seem to know whats going on at this cash cow. I think that ordinary people like me just cannot believe nobody has taken the fall for this shambles. If I performed just one day like these idiots I would be on the dole.

  8. I do not believe it

    27.Mar.2013 9:01am

    ………….the lunatics really are running the asylum and resultantly blighting the lives of island children. In China they would be shot!

  9. Can anyone tell me what the contractors have to say as to why the project has overrun or is it all to do with the council?

  10. Black Dog

    27.Mar.2013 2:08pm

    Enough is Enough – Parents should withdraw their children from this school until Alan Wells along with the remainder of the board resign.

    Additionally David Pugh, George Brown and Stuart Love must go and go now.

  11. You might find this useful from the Local Govt Ombudsman website. http://www.lgo.org.uk/guide-for-advisers/maladministration-service-failure/ How many of the examples could be applied to IWC?
    Has the council done something wrong? (maladministration)

    The law says the Ombudsman can investigate alleged or apparent ‘maladministration’ or service failure. This can include:

    incorrect action or failure to take any action
    failure to follow procedures or the law
    failure to provide information
    inadequate record-keeping
    failure to investigate
    failure to reply
    misleading or inaccurate statements
    inadequate liaison
    inadequate consultation
    broken promises

    The Ombudsman does not usually criticise a decision which has been properly taken simply because someone disagrees with it. We will however look at the way the decision was made.

  12. JipperNipper

    27.Mar.2013 3:52pm

    So Billy Builder, you have had a great deal to say over Cowes Enterprise College and island Education generally over the last few months. You appear to speak with authority and with what some may regard as privileged information.
    You seem to have an inside track into Local Authority information.
    However you let slip little things that point as either to you, or someone close to you as being one of the disgruntled suspended LA employees.
    I don’t doubt that some of what you allege has some truth to it but I take exception to someone who uses his privileged knowledge to give credibility to his story but then presents other things as facts outwith the area of his (or her) true knowledge, relying on most people’s predilection to ‘false authority syndrome’
    In short: stick to facts and stop presenting fiction as fact.
    If indeed you are who I have hinted at here then you would clearly have your own axe to grind and in my opinion are a very large reason as to why we are in this sorry state and understandably want to be deflecting the ‘heat’ away from yourself.

    • I would suggest that if Billy Builder has knowledge that exposes the failings of those involved, then he is quite right to expose them. Employees who are prepared to stand up for the truth should be protected and is something which mIght have helped vulnerable patients at Stafford and many other hospitals. I think the in-phrase is ‘duty of candour’.

    • Which part of Billy’s comment do you think is fiction rather than fact Jipper?

    • My god nipper, are you totally unaware of all the allegations of bullying and intimidation that goes on at County Hall? It is of such proportion now, that it cannot all be untrue. Should Billy be one of those sacrificial lambs then good luck to him, is what I say along with many others. Look at the votes on your comments, give you an idea what we think???

      • Whatever the substantive issues here, I don’t think anyone should take too seriously the voting on comments. To expect posters to do so could itself become a form of bullying.

        I weigh up what someone says in a comment, not how many people are for or against it. The majority (& where does that come from? We don’t know)- isn’t always right.

  13. mike starke

    27.Mar.2013 4:48pm

    “JipperNipper’s” carping at “”Billy Builder” are (mildly) amusing in that the former appears to be guilty of what he/she accuses the latter of doing.

    What we should not lose sight of is that the main architect of the train crash that Island education “reform” has become has skipped off to the Essex marshes whence he came, happily counting wads of our taxpayers’ wonga. So we cannot hold him to account.

    Luckily for us, the council cabinet member most responsible for rubber-stamping the chaos is still with us in the Del-Boy-sales-patter form of Cllr David Pugh.

    Perhaps Shanklin voters might care to quiz him on the embarrassing subject of the education debacle as he canvasses for their votes before 2 May.

    Check out the Cratus website for Cllr Pugh’s dinky little cartoon depiction of himself and his really cute CV for his education “consultancy”.

  14. Interesting the current Mayor of Cowes David Walters, wouldn’t put CEC on the Town Council agenda last year. Despite requests from a number of parish Cllrs. Remember his name come election time and don’t vote him if you live in Cowes.

  15. Billy Builder

    28.Mar.2013 10:25am

    Hi jippernipper, or maybe one if Love’s cronies
    As you well know everything that I’ve said is absolutely true and verifiable.

  16. Chris Welsford

    29.Mar.2013 3:31pm

    I want to see senior politicians placed in the firing line when it comes to public statements such as this.

    I had a very interesting conversation with a BBC Journalist about this recently. He told me that the Isle of Wight is striking in its use of officers to comment on and deliver bad news. Our senior politicians hide behind unelected directors and senior officers.

    It is impossible for me, as an elected representative, to publicly criticise Stuart Love in Full Council or anywhere else apart from the privacy of his office or possibly in Scrutiny (although I withdrew from Scrutiny, partly because I got into so much trouble for allegedly criticising officers).

    On the other hand, I am free to publicly lambast Councillors Cousins, Pugh and Brown for their incompetence, anytime I like.

    The problem is that residents start to hold officers responsible and not politicians. A recent comment on this blog was to the effect that the correspondent would not be voting for Stuart Love at the next election! Too right he won’t!!

    Politicians use this to their advantage. It seems to have gone completely un-reported that I tried to stop Cllr Mazillius from blaming a senior officer for the failings in Child Protection, at the last Full Council meeting of the Isle of Wight Council. The blame for those failings lies with the Cabinet Member and the Leader of the Council, both of whom determined the policies that led to the serious failings identified by Ofsted, but subsequently refused to take responsibility for their actions, blaming instead Ali Matthews, the middle manager for Child Protection. She fell on her sword – but in my view she was a scapegoat. The senior politicians should have resigned immediately.

    This is an erosion of democracy and it has to change.

  17. Billy Builder

    1.Apr.2013 11:40am

    Hi Chris

    Whilst I fully agree that members should take responsibility for failures resulting from inappropriate policies or from inadequate scrutiny of the implementation of those policies. Officers also have a responsibility to ensure that they give members the correct advice, and that the policies once actioned are carried out diligently.

    In the case of the failures in children’s services it was David Pugh and Steve Beynon who devised the restructure that removed Colin Peak, putting the responsiblity for delivery onto Ian Anderson’s team. The responsibly for the failed policy is therefore shared between Beynon and Pugh. The responsibility for the failed implementation is shared between Dawn Cousin’s and Ian Anderson, who were responsible for the service delivery.

    In terms of the Cowes fiasco however, this was nothing to do with policy but was a result of damage limitation and scapegoating following the realisation by the Trust that they had no budget for the maintenance of the new school, and had not participated in the knowledge transfer, resulting in their incapability to take on the school. Following this relocation, the Trust approach Stuart Love to stop the school delivery. This was done Whilst Steve Beynon was on leave, with the intention to take Steve’s scalp, freeing up the CEO position for Love, but due to the close relationship between Pugh and Beyond, Janet Newton and John Brocklehurst were taken instead

  18. mole4wight

    1.Apr.2013 7:18pm


    This certainly would appear to be the case for Cowes, as both the Builder and the suspended officers advised that there was no issue with the roof, but the Comms Technician a fire place maker and a woodwork teacher all thought that they knew better – how wrong they were – heads should roll here, in the Trust and within the Council at member and senior officer (Director) level – come 2nd May perhaps justice will be done !

  19. I heard that Alan Wells is now dealing with May council election and does not want disturbing by anybody at the moment and his personally ‘selected’ officers, including Stuart Love and the remaining Directors must keep CEC out of the news till HE is ready.
    So you are probably right, nothing happening till after the election., but bet the local candidates in Cowes will be asked some probing questions by parents?
    Look forward to the candidates leaflets being uploaded and how Alan Wells’s prospective candidates set out the future? Not sure it will mirror what the rest of the Island thinks though??

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