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Questions raised over school fire insurance excess

06 May 2024 2 minute read
Manorbier School. Image: Huw Murphy

Bruce Sinclair Local Democracy Reporter

A senior councillor is to be quizzed on what progress has been made in recouping a £200,000 insurance excess paid by the council following a school fire in 2022.

Manorbier Church in Wales VC School and its adjoining schoolhouse was severely damaged by a fire on October 11 of 2022, which broke out in the school roof space.

Pupils and staff were successfully evacuated with no injuries, and a ‘school from school’ was set up in Jameston Village Hall, after a brief period of sanctuary at the nearby Buttyland caravan site.

Accident

Pembrokeshire County Council’s insurers have previously said the fire was accidentally started while ‘hot works’ were being carried out by contractors to renew an adjacent flat roof, but, as has previously been stressed, no liability had been accepted to date.

Councillors have previously heard the majority of costs were likely to be met from the council’s insurers, with the caveat of the unknown issue of liability and its effect on the £200,000 insurance excess.

A submitted question, by Councillor Aled Thomas, to be heard at the full council meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council on May 9, will ask Cabinet Member for Education and Welsh Language Cllr Guy Woodham “to update the chamber on what progress the Cabinet have made in recouping the £200,000 insurance excess paid following the devastating non-fault fire at Manorbier school”.

“Legal discussion”

Councillors have previously been told by Cllr Woodham: “The legal issues are not straightforward but will be robustly taken forward.

“At this stage it’s still subject to legal discussion. The excess will be covered by a fund the council holds for insurance excess.”

He said that, if liability was found or accepted, the council would “pursue for the full maximum claim of the costs associated with the fire”.


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