AN EDUCATION chief denies claims Ellesmere Port will not benefit from the sale of former school land.
Cheshire county councillor David Rowlands, holder of the authority's education portfolio, says the sale of Gorsthills Primary, Great Sutton will enable up to £67m to be spent on building and improving schools countywide.
Gorsthills was closed by the county this summer due to falling pupil numbers, despite a protest from parents and governors.
Cllr Rowlands (Con, Mickle Trafford) said the Port will also see £50m invested into two new academies in the town, to replace the existing three main high schools.
He was responding to claims by borough council leader Justin Madders that the county was 'milking' the Port of its resources amid doubt that the proceeds of the Gorsthills sale would be spent in the town.
Cllr Rowlands said: 'Gorsthills was closed because it met the criteria set out as the school least qualified to remain open in its cluster, where there were then more than 250 surplus places.
'The decision, difficult though it was, was endorsed by the independent School Organisation Committee.
'The county council has a legal duty to ensure money available for education is allocated as even handedly over the county area as is possible.
'The Transforming Learning Communities (TLC) process will enable a maximum of £67m to be borrowed for school building and alteration countywide.
'The chance of £50m investment in two academies for Ellesmere Port, being pursued by several sponsors, the county council and schools, ensures Ellesmere Port gets its share of education investment.'
He dismissed claims by Cllr Madders primary schools in Conservative parts of the county were deliberately being kept open.
Cllr Rowlands explained: 'Mindful of Government policy to try and avoid closing rural schools unnecessarily, the county council has tried to do just that.'