Hunts college move still stalled
THERE is still no start in sight to Huntingdonshire Regional College s proposed move to a �40million new home at Hinchingbrooke. The move was stalled when the Learning and Skills Council, which had promised to fund three-quarters of the capital cost, run
THERE is still no start in sight to Huntingdonshire Regional College's proposed move to a �40million new home at Hinchingbrooke.
The move was stalled when the Learning and Skills Council, which had promised to fund three-quarters of the capital cost, run out of cash.
The Government promised more money, but it is still unclear whether any or, if so, how much will come Huntingdonshire's way.
A meeting last week for college principal Anne Constantine and Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly with Further Education Minister Sion Simon resolved nothing, but Mrs Constantine remains optimistic that some funding will become available.
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"I don't think we shall get all we were hoping for but, if we have to go for a slightly smaller project, we could still be open by 2012 as originally planned. It's still watch-this-space, and I'm not without hope," she added.
"But it has been a complete catastrophe, mismanaged by the LSC."
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The college, which also has �10million plans to move the St Neots campus, believes the Huntingdon development, planned for the site of the police sports field, could now have to happen piecemeal, adding to the total cost.
Mr Djanogly said after the meeting: "I have long supported the college's plans for a much needed upgrade. Anne Constantine and the governors of the college have a vision to create a first-class college for the benefit of the young people and the community at large in Huntingdonshire and the surrounding area.
"Great progress has been made in recent years and we must recognise the dedication of the college's staff and students. We now need to build on their successes and press ahead with the new build which the college both needs and deserves.
"I was extremely disappointed following our meeting with the Minister. The Government has let the college down.
"There are two problems here - prioritisation and timing," he added. "The college has spent considerable time and money preparing for the future yet the Minister could not provide the certainty that the college requires to move forward.
"We need more of an indication from the Government about when we can start this project. The Government does not appreciate that the college's current sites will need significant investment if they are to be used for another five or 10 years.
"The young people of Huntingdonshire deserve better."
Martin Doel, chief executive of the national Association of Colleges, has also been to the college for talks with Mrs Constantine and senior managers about the impact of the problems at the LSC.
Mr Doel said: "The good work that the college is doing and the advances they have made deserve merit and support in the form of buildings that are fit for purpose.