A school expansion has been delayed after a dispute over contractor payments.

Work on a £11million new three-storey block and play area was due to start this summer at Woodbridge High School, in St Barnabas Road, Woodford Green.

But in a letter addressed to parents and students, Redbridge council stated a delay in the start of construction was due to a dispute with the building contractor over money.

The new building will accommodate 400 extra pupils, meaning the school population will rise to 1,998 and an additional 21 staff.

The new block will be used for art, drama, history, music and ICT departments, including a new auditorium.

Pat Reynolds, director of children’s services at Redbridge council, said in the letter: “Work on the expansion of the school was due to begin this school holiday.

“Regrettably Redbridge council has been forced to end its agreement with the building contractor appointed to carry out the expansion project because they have now indicated that they cannot complete the works for the sum of money that they stated would be the price for the scheme when they tendered for the work.

“This is deeply disappointing news, especially considering the amount of time and effort that both the school and local authority officers have put into the project so far.

"I would like to reassure you that despite this set back the local authority has confirmed that it still 
wishes to proceed with the expansion and will shortly be arranging for another building contractor to complete the work."

Headteacher Andrew Beaumont said: “This is disappointing for us all, nevertheless, we should be reassured by the continued commitment expressed to our expansion within the letter.”

A planning application to extend the sports hall to include a detached studio and gym was also withdrawn yesterday.