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Petition launched by community to save CITB in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 12:08 26 April 2018 | UPDATED: 13:38 26 April 2018

A petition has begun to save CITB. Pictured are (from left) Jenny Barker, Paul Chettleburgh, Martin Futter, Karen Nudds, Emily O'Brien and Rev Peter Cook. Picture: Ian Burt

A petition has begun to save CITB. Pictured are (from left) Jenny Barker, Paul Chettleburgh, Martin Futter, Karen Nudds, Emily O'Brien and Rev Peter Cook. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

A petition to save the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has been launched by its chaplain.

A petition has begun to save CITB. Picture: Ian BurtA petition has begun to save CITB. Picture: Ian Burt

The CITB, which employs close to 575 people at Bircham Newton, is considering moving its headquarters from West Norfolk, with Peterborough the most likely destination.

But the vicar of Docking and Bircham, Reverend Peter Cook, said the proposed move would be devastating for the local economy.

“We don’t know what the future might hold, it might be a disaster for the whole area,” Revd Cook said.

“People might find it too difficult to stay in the area and difficult to find an alternative employer.”

A petition has begun to save CITB. Pictured are (from left) Jenny Barker, Paul Chettleburgh, Martin Futter, Karen Nudds, Emily O'Brien and Rev Peter Cook. Picture: Ian BurtA petition has begun to save CITB. Pictured are (from left) Jenny Barker, Paul Chettleburgh, Martin Futter, Karen Nudds, Emily O'Brien and Rev Peter Cook. Picture: Ian Burt

In its 2018-2021 business plan, the CITB is proposing to go from 1,370 staff across the UK in March 2018 to 558 by 2021.

But Revd Cook, who is a chaplain at the college, said he has spoken to a number of staff at the training body who are worried about their futures.

He has began a petition which is calling on the board and chairman of CITB to halt all plans to move offices and staff from the site at Bircham Newton and to reconsider the proposals.

The National Construction College at Bircham Newton. Picture: Ian BurtThe National Construction College at Bircham Newton. Picture: Ian Burt

Copies of the petition have been sent to supporting organisations in the area, including Bircham’s Social Club, Bircham Village Stores, the King’s Head and Bircham Windmill.

The petition is also being hosted by Docking’s Railway Inn, Spar and Bayfield Surgery as well as Sedgeford and Stanhoe King William IV and The Duck Inn and the churches in Bircham, Docking, Sedgeford, Stanhoe and Fring.

Revd Cook added: “It employs hundreds of people and quite a lot of them are from King’s Lynn and Norwich and there are an awful lot of jobs at the unit, including cleaners and security through to office staff and the telephone centre. 
“You’ll find that an awful lot of people in the villages work there or have worked there at some stage, it’s been there for decades and has played a huge role in peoples’ lives. 
“It also helps social groups and churches in the area, it would be a disaster for the area if we were to lose it.”

The National Construction College at Bircham Newton. Picture: Ian BurtThe National Construction College at Bircham Newton. Picture: Ian Burt

A CITB spokesman said the training body has extended its consultation period “to allow colleagues to fully engage with the process.”

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