City College has revealed plans to create a higher education campus in the centre of Norwich.

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The proposals, which would involve its existing St Andrews House building on St Andrews Street and a new base at Norfolk House on Exchange Street, will aim to increase the “vitality and viability of the city centre” and bring more of the nearly £4m of annual student spending to the area.

The college has submitted a change of use application to Norwich City Council to allow it to use the heritage building, which is currently office space for companies including the Royal Bank of Scotland, for educational purposes.

In its planning statement, City College Norwich’s agent says the Exchange Street proposals would allow it to create “the high-quality single-campus experience for its higher education students, to which is aspires”.

Announcing the plans, college principal Dick Palmer said: “The establishment of a new HE campus in the city centre is a really significant and exciting development. Locating our higher education and access courses in these two fantastic buildings will enhance and enrich our HE community, supporting student achievement, and help the college take our vocational and professional higher education to the next level.

“As the vast majority of our HE students come from Norfolk, this is great news for the development of higher level skills in the county.”

City College offers a range of further and higher education courses, including A-levels, vocational courses, and degrees.

Teaching of its higher education courses is currently split across its two existing sites at Ipswich Road – its main campus – and St Andrews House which has become the focus for its business and finance courses.

But the college says the distance between the two locations has caused logistical and timetabling problems for staff and students.

Instead, it wants to base all its higher education courses at the two more central sites, creating a city centre campus for learners.

The planning statement adds: “The St Andrew’s sector of the city centre already has a significant higher education element to its character with the Norwich University College of the Arts (Nuca) based within seven buildings within the St George’s / Duke Street / St Andrew’s area.

“Expansion of City College Norwich’s higher education courses would further increase the knowledge base of the area.”

There are currently 1,500 full and part-time students competing higher education courses with City College in areas including health and social care, business management, creative arts, journalism, culinary arts, construction, and sports science and personal fitness training.

Degrees are awarded through the University of East Anglia.

Edward Acton, UEA vice chancellor, said: “We are delighted to continue to validate degree courses at City College. it is very much to the advantage of the city as a whole to have a college so actively engaged in vocational higher education, and this move to provide dedicated facilities for degree-level students is most welcome.”

It is thought a total of 600 learners will use the new Norfolk House base, with about 240 students on site at any one time.

The building would be open from 7.30am to 10pm, six days a week, to allow students to access the library with courses running 9am to 7pm, Mondays to Fridays.

Academic lessons and “self-study” will be entirely based in the city centre with any practical workshop elements to the courses remaining at the Ipswich Road campus.

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