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Trip to Westminster to save Darlington education jobs
A NORTH-EAST MP said yesterday (Sunday) she plans to "throw the kitchen sink" at the campaign to keep hundreds of jobs in Darlington.
Jenny Chapman and Darlington Borough Council leader, Bill Dixon are travelling to Westminster today (Monday) to discuss ways of preventing 400 civil service jobs being moved from Mowden Hall to Newcastle.
They will be joined by the council's Conservative leader, Heather Scott in a meeting with the permanent secretary for the Department for Education (DfE), Chris Wormald.
Mowden Hall is set to close next March due to its poor state of repair but a campaign has been launched to keep the posts in Darlington.
The delegation will discuss possible alternative sites within the town at their meeting with Mr Wormald.
Ms Chapman said: “I think this is the first priority for Darlington right now, we must do everything we possibly can to keep these jobs in the town and the meeting with the permanent secretary is the first step in our effort to persuade the department of the need for them to stay in Darlington.
“I think despite the suspicion over whether the decision has been made or not, we need to throw the kitchen sink at this issue; I don’t want to lose those jobs thinking there is something more we could have done.”
Ms Chapman believes that Darlington has “a very strong case” for keeping the positions in the town and possible alternative sites were discussed at a meeting at the town hall last week.
These include Lingfield Point and Northgate House.
Coun Dixon said he was looking forward to the meeting and described the discussions about using alternative offices within Darlington as being “very productive”.
“Hopefully by the end of the meeting it will be a lot clearer as to what we must do next, what the department is looking for and, importantly, what they are not looking for so that we don’t waste time going down cul-de-sacs.
“I am confident that the department mean what they say about not having made a decision yet.
“I think we have an overwhelming case to keep the jobs in Darlington, I think it is all to play for.”
An online petition launched by The Northern Echo to ‘Save Darlington Jobs’ has attracted hundreds of signatures.
Sign it at www.northernecho.co.uk/jobspetition