Hunts college move plan 'weak and risky'

AFTER last year s triumphant declarations over the proposed move of the Huntingdonshire Regional College, it was ironic to read in The Hunts Post (April 22) that the college principal, Mrs Constantine, is out with the begging bowl trying to drum up suppor

AFTER last year's triumphant declarations over the proposed move of the Huntingdonshire Regional College, it was ironic to read in The Hunts Post (April 22) that the college principal, Mrs Constantine, is out with the begging bowl trying to drum up support due to a lack of funding.

This situation highlights the poor business case, weak college planning and risk-management, and fundamental flaws in this ill-conceived, divisive and harmful folly of a project.

Other elements of the college plan have already failed. Stagecoach has cancelled the guided bus route that was supposed to deliver students from far and wide to the college and then patients on to the hospital. This has removed an important part of the "green transport plan" that was so much of the selling point of the college's original 'sustainable' basis of the proposal.

The other sustainability and transport elements of the plan are a fallacy, especially the A14 link road, which remains controversial, not credible and will add to the existing traffic congestion, and increase road safety problems in the Huntingdon West area.

While we all should wholeheartedly support the renovation and upgrading of the college to provide an uplifting and conducive learning environment, moving the college from its current site, where it is central to daily social and educational activity in the area, is wrong and divisive.

At this time of economic hard times and the desperate need to get people re-skilled and educated, the college should be singularly focused on helping local people better prepare themselves for jobs and getting them back in to employment to meet household bills.

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This will allow people achieve their full potential in life and contribute to the town and the region's recovery. Instead, the college persists in wasting taxpayers' money and resources, and our MP's time and political reputation, in trying to re-kindle a project that has rightly been killed off by circumstance.

The HRC relocation plan has failed because of the self-evident weaknesses that it was so low a priority, so inappropriate, and had such a low chance of success that it has not merited selection for the limited LSC funding available in recent years.

Our MP is responsible for ensuring we do not waste more taxpayers' money in an already dire economic and government funding situation.

Mr Djanogly should focus on reviewing and bringing realism to the college principal's plans rather than damaging his personal, his party's and Huntingdon's reputation by lobbying for a relocation project that has little if any real support or need in our town.

He should work with the HDC planners and the college to develop a less risky, more educationally and socially effective, relevant, realistic and affordable solution on the current site. We need a plan that meets the real 'here and now' and future needs of the HDC staff, pupils, local users and Huntingdonshire residents.

MAURICE DIXON

Snowdonia Way

Huntingdon

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