Education in PFI projects

In the report entitled "Herbert Smith tops PFI projects league" (The Lawyer, 17 December 1996), you say that "education projects have yet to see the light of day".

In fact there is at least one completed PFI project in the higher education sector, the University of Greenwich's Avery Hill Student Village.

This project has been treated by the Government and by the Funding Council as a landmark achievement and at the development's opening by Education Secretary Gillian Shephard in October 1996, after delivery of the buildings on time, the deputy vice-chancellor paid tribute to the role played by Stephenson Harwood in bringing the project to fruition.

In the further education sector, 10 pathfinder PFI projects have been chosen which are in various stages of progress, and at least one is at the point where contracts will shortly be exchanged.

In addition to this, there are four schools pathfinder PFI projects promoted jointly by the 4Ps (Public Private Partnerships Programme) in conjunction with the Private Finance Panel Executive.

While it is true to say that the education sector has been slower to adopt PFI than central government, nonetheless there are some education projects which have seen the light of day and many others which are more than just a "gleam in the eye".

Peter Walters,

Stephenson Harwood.