King’s Lynn college signs �1.5m deal with West Norfolk Council
The College of West Anglia today officially received �1.5 million from West Norfolk Council towards redeveloping facilities in King's Lynn.
Council chief executive Ray Harding and college principal David Pomfret signed the deal which sees the council paying half the cost of a new technology block which is due to open early next year.
Work has just started on the new block at the Tennyson Avenue college with the remaining �1.5 million cost being met by the college and the Skills Funding Agency.
'Despite the difficult financial climate, skills is a number one priority and it is abundantly clear that the college needed to bring its facilitites up to a good standard,' said Mr Harding.
He said the use of council funds for a new college building was a good investment in terms of creating a skilled workforce for the area.
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'Raising skills is increasingly important to the success of the local economy and this is a low-skill area and local businesses need people with the right skills,' said Mr Harding.
The college has been forced to invest heavily in a maintenance programme and redevelopment since plans for a new campus in Lynn and another in March, Cambridgeshire, were sunk when the now defunct Learning and Skills Council (LSC) pulled the plug on funding in 2009.
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There were plans to relocate the Lynn campus to the Nar Ouse Regeneration Area, South Lynn, and the two Wisbech campuses would have moved to a second new campus in March.
The LSC announced a lack of money at the eleventh hour - leaving the college with no option but to retain its sites in Lynn and Wisbech- which are in need of updating and modernisation.
Mr Pomfret said that while the �1.5 million investment from the council did not make up for the loss of a �165 million new-build scheme, it showed the authority's support for the college and the work it does.
'It means a huge amount and it is a real step forward,' said Mr Pomfret, who added he was grateful to the council for its commitment to the college.
The borough council investment followed a �1.5m investment by Fenland District Council (FDC) towards a redevelopment scheme for the Isle Campus in Wisbech. Cambridgeshire County Council is also contributing �6.5 million to the site where it will share accommodation with FDC and the college at the Ramnoth Road campus.
Mr Pomfret said he hoped more of the college's Lynn site would be redeveloped in the future - making better use of the available space.
The current building designs see a lot of areas of wasted space and, he said, the total amount could be reduced by up to 20pc which would have no affect on the student learning experience at the college.