Havering College’s Harold Hill campus to be sold to ease financial pressures

Havering College of Further and Higher Education Quarles campus in Harold Hill

Havering College of Further and Higher Education Quarles campus in Harold Hill - Credit: Google Street View

A college campus could be sold to the council and redeveloped into homes or new education facilities.

Havering College of Further and Higher Education’s Quarles campus in Harold Hill could be taken over by the council in an arrangement which would ease financial pressure on the college and allow it to expand to a new site in Rainham.

The buildings of the 1950s Harold Hill campus are becoming obsolete and Havering College is seeking to concentrate its education programme on its Ardleigh Green campus and expand its construction courses at its Rainham site.

The decision is being considered by Havering Council’s cabinet on Wednesday and will have to be agreed by the full council before going ahead.

A council report states: “This would place the college in a far better position economically.”

Financial statements for the year 2014/15 show the college generated an operating deficit of £0.869m compared to a £5,000 surplus the previous year and it has £7.5m of outstanding loans.

A spokeswoman for the college told the Recorder: “The vast majority of colleges of further education are under some form of financial pressure.

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“The move will enable the college to move out of a campus which is expensive to maintain and which does not provide sufficiently modern facilities for learners.

“It will also provide funding towards the cost of developing the Rainham campus.”

Courses held at the Quarles campus in Harold Hill will be transferred to either the Ardleigh Green or Rainham campus and the college hopes the move will be completed by no later than September 2019.

Prior to this happening, Havering College will be looking for facilities in the Harold Hill area to provide community-based courses.

The arrangement for the acquisition of the Quarles campus would see the council giving out a loan of a maximum of £10million to the college, which would ease the costs of the move until the sell of the site takes place.

Havering College received a £5.4m funding grant from the GLA to transform their construction-based campus in Rainham into a Construction Infrastructure Skills and Innovation Centre (CISIC) and the council is due to match that funding.

An area review is being undertaken by the government to create larger and more financially sustainable colleges and the report says it is likely Havering College will merge with Barking and Dagenham College.