MILLIONS of pounds has been spent on schools in East Lancashire that failed to open or closed shortly after, figures show.

The Hyndburn Studio School in Accrington cost nearly half-a-million pounds to open, however after struggling to attract applicants it closed within a year with students moving to Accrington and Rossendale College, according to information released by the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

Around £10million was spent on the University Technical College (UTC) in Burnley, which opened in 2013 and will close its doors for good this summer after failing to recruit enough students.

While more than £130,000 was spent on Chorley Career and Sixth Form in 2012, however it never opened.

With the last students set to leave the UTC in July, talks are still on-going as to what will be done with the Trafalgar Street building.

Burnley MP Julie Cooper said: “I am pleased to say that discussions to find a new educational occupier are going very well and a positive outcome for the town regarding the use of this state of the art facility appears to be imminent.”

Cllr Mark Townsend, leader of Burnley Council, said: “We are hoping by the time the students leave a decision will be made.

“Everybody is working hard to get an arrangement sorted as quickly as possible.”

As well as the opening costs of the building, Lancashire County Council invested £150,000 to upgrade the Barracks roundabout as part of the Weaver’s Triangle development while a new bus waiting area was funded by £2m from the Regional Growth Fund.

Simon Jones, Lancashire representative for the NUT, said the money spent on free schools and UTCs was a ‘scandalous waste when funding is being cut from all other schools’.

He said: “It is completely irresponsible and unjustifiable. It is another ill-thought out education policy from this ideologically driven government.

“What parents want is a good local school and not these gimmicks.”

A Department for Education spokesman said: “There are 1.8m more children in good or outstanding schools than in 2010 and free schools are playing a vital role in creating those good school places.

“They are popular with parents, ensuring thousands more families have the choice of a good local school.

"The construction costs of a newly-built free school are 29 per cent lower than those built under the previous school building programme.

“They also operate under a much more robust accountability system."