AN extra £423,000 is set to be found to ensure the long-awaited transfer of a Blackburn nursery to a new home.

Extra construction costs have bumped up the bill for the relocation of Longshaw Nursery School, in Crosby Road, to the nearby Longshaw Infants site, councillors have been told.

And without the additional funds, the borough council's executive has heard, the planned switch during the summer holidays would have to be delayed until the spring 2024 term or later. Longshaw Nursery was said to be in a 'poor state of repair' when the plans were first suggested in 2020.

Cllr Julie Gunn, in an executive report, says the original estimate for the move, in 2021-22, was around £826,000.

But she added: "The initial estimate was predicated on a scope of works which was almost wholly focussed on the new build phase of the project and did not take account of either the external works, or the likely requirements of the local planning authority.

"Both of the above works are essential to ensure the safe operation of the new facility and mitigate against the detrimental impact of the proposal on the adjoining community.

"These works have now been specified, priced by the contractor, value engineered and benchmarked against recent comparable schemes to ensure value for money."

Councillors have been told that without the cash injection, staff car parking spaces could be compromised, leading to parking on a nearby road, and nursery children would not have access to outdoor provisions.

When the borough's executive meets next Thursday, councillor will also be asked to authorise maintenance spending on projects at four other Blackburn or Darwen schools.

This includes another £47,000 as part of the works to replace boilers and pipework at Brookhouse Primary's foundation unit in Bastwell and £25,000 more for the playground resurfacing at Avondale Primary in Darwen.

The board has also heard that the existing perimeter fence at Roe Lee Primary 'has been been identified as a safeguarding risk due to the

height of the fence in some areas being too low'

Some of the fence panels have either been damaged or removed and temporary fencing has been erected. The estimated cost for a permanent solution is £100,000.

And at Intack Primary the school's four gas-fired boilers are said to be 'very dated' and have been the subject of frequent call-outs for repairs. The cost of an upgraded plant room and boilers is £68,000.

The costs will be meet by using unallocated schools condition grant funding and other similar unspent budgets.