Pledge over future of Norwich’s Wensum Lodge

Wensum Lodge in Norwich, where adult education is to continue into the future.

Wensum Lodge in Norwich, where adult education is to continue into the future. - Credit: Archant

Norwich's Wensum Lodge will continue to be used for adult education in the future, a council report has confirmed, as a debate nears on the future of the county's adult education service.

Question marks were placed against the future of the King Street venue, which has been the base of adult education since 1964, last year.

In March, it was revealed the county council was in negotiations with City College Norwich, Great Yarmouth College, the College of West Anglia in King's Lynn and Easton College near Norwich, for adult education courses to be transferred to them.

It also emerged Cliff Jordan, while a cabinet member in the former Conservative administration, had ordered a feasibility study over the redevelopment of the site.

After he became leader at last May's elections, Labour's George Nobbs said the county's adult education service would continue in its current form 'for the foreseeable future'.

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And, at a meeting of the council's community services overview and scrutiny panel next week, councillors will be asked to agree the service should remain with the council and to note that Wensum Lodge will continue to have provision for adult learning in the future.

Officers recommend that there are significant benefits to be gained by the council remaining a direct provider of adult education, which they say is worth £1.7m.

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Transferring the responsibility for adult education would 'significantly reduce' the council's ability to influence the skills agenda through the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, the report states.

Margaret Wilkinson, cabinet member for communities at Norfolk County Council, with responsibility for adult education, said: 'Our service is unique in Norfolk because it takes learning to the heart of urban and rural communities; giving people the valuable opportunity to start a new hobby, return to or continue in education when perhaps they thought it wasn't for them.

'It's essential that these opportunities are available to everybody, and I look forward to discussing this further with members.'

• What do you think of Wensum Lodge and about adult education in Norfolk? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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