New college delayed as funding hits the rocks

Issue 357

PLANS for a new £20 million college building in Dewsbury have been hit by funding delays.
The new Kirklees College hoped to start work on the former Safeway supermarket site in Bradford Road, Dewsbury, this year.
But hopes of securing the cash have stalled because the funding body, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), is overloaded with bids from other colleges.
Dewsbury and Mirfield Labour MP Shahid Malik led a delegation to London to press the case for Dewsbury.
Kirklees College was formed out of a merger last August between Dewsbury College and Huddersfield Technical College. A new building is also planned in Huddersfield.
Mr Malik was accompanied by college principal Chris Sadler, Kirklees Council leader Mehboob Khan, deputy leader Kath Pinnock and the councils regeneration director, Ken Gillespie.
The group met with further education minister Sion Simon to discuss funding complications.
Mr Malik said: I impressed upon the minister the imperative need for the college to develop the Safeway site and in doing so provide a central, wellfunded campus that will provide an excellent post16 facility for young people and a muchneeded boost to town centre trade.
The Dewsbury and Huddersfield campuses would provide a learning base for more than 20,000 students.
College principal Mr Sadler said: We are grateful for our local MPs support and that of the council at all levels.
This complements the continuous efforts made by us to give the community the further education provision it deserves.
The LSC is currently reprioritising capital funding projects for a number of colleges nationwide and until that prioritisation agenda has been agreed and communicated to us, we are not in a position to comment further on our new build projects.
A decision is due on the proposed multimillion pound schemes later this month.
Kirklees Council bought the Safeway site last year and the old store was demolished in November. It was originally planned to open the new college in 2012.

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