Further blow for North Devon College plans

PLANS for a new college in Barnstaple have taken another blow after the South West Regional Development Agency announced today (Monday) it was withdrawing �1 million in funding. The news came as the RDA said it was cutting �56 million in funding for propo

PLANS for a new college in Barnstaple have taken another blow after the South West Regional Development Agency announced today (Monday) it was withdrawing �1 million in funding.The news came as the RDA said it was cutting �56 million in funding for proposed regeneration projects across the South West.The scheme to build a new North Devon College campus at Seven Brethren in Barnstaple town centre was hit by uncertainty in January when the Learning and Skills Council delayed its proposed �125 million grant due to an overspend in its budget.The LSC was re-assessing several projects, including North Devon College and no decision has yet been made on which will still receive funding.But the RDA in its budget statement today said since the scheme "was not now taking place" it was withdrawing its funding.Elsewhere in the statement, it added: "this was a large scale campus redevelopment that may not happen because of constraints on the LSC capital funding nationally."We were planning to contribute to the development of an HE [higher education] centre with HEFCE [Higher Education Funding Council for England] - our funding is not crucial to the progression of the campus redevelopment. "If LSC funding is available it will be able to go forward, but is less likely to include the higher education element, as there are other projects which would take greater precedence in this tighter funding environment."College principal David Dodd has said he is "gobsmacked" by the statement. See this week's paper and keep checking online for more reaction.


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