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Funding freeze puts college plans in cold

PUBLISHED: 11:47 01 May 2009 | UPDATED: 10:39 09 July 2010

A HAVERING college is holding its breath after a funding freeze put its multimillion re-development plans in jeopardy. Earlier this year the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), the government body responsible for further education funding, announced that 1

A HAVERING college is holding its breath after a funding freeze put its multimillion re-development plans in jeopardy.

Earlier this year the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), the government body responsible for further education funding, announced that 144 colleges - including Havering Sixth Form College - were to have building projects frozen.

The shock move has the potential to put Havering Sixth Form College's ambitious plans for an eco-friendly re-development of its site, in Wingletye Lane, at risk.

The £60million three-year project controversially received planning permission at a raucous planning meeting in the Town Hall last November and construction was due to start this summer.

The project hopes to provide space for an extra 150 students and includes new teaching wings, a 170-seater theatre and a four-court sports hall.

The sixth form's Chairman of Governors, Cllr Keith Darvill, said: "Our application was at an advanced stage. There would have been works going on now preparing temporary lecture rooms but then it got delayed."

The LSC is currently preparing a "priority order" of colleges to determine which need funding most urgently and the Sixth Form expects to hear where it stands by the end of next month.

Cllr Darvill said: "We have put a very strong case to the LSC and to ministers that we're ready to go, the project creates jobs and it hits all the right buttons in terms of providing young people with skills.

"We're keeping our fingers crossed."

College principal, Paul Wakeling, added: "There has been a delay in the project because the LSC over-committed beyond the funds it had available.

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