Hopes high for new college

CIVIC leaders in Ipswich are today increasingly confident that a multi-million pound bid to rebuild Suffolk College will be successful.Bosses at the College approached the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in December for £20million to help pay for a £45m project to build a new college.

CIVIC leaders in Ipswich are today increasingly confident that a multi-million pound bid to rebuild Suffolk College will be successful.

Bosses at the College approached the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in December for £20million to help pay for a £45m project to build a new college.

A decision last week by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to support the development of University Campus Suffolk left many observers feeling that HEFCE effectively gave the green light to the college redevelopment.

Ipswich Council's economic development officer Simon Meecham said: "Frankly we can't believe that the LSC and HEFCE haven't talked at length to each other before the first decision was announced.

"I suppose it would be possible to go ahead with the university development without rebuilding the college, but it would take a complete rethink of all the plans."

The UCS project team hope to attract private sector investment into the university, and Mr Meecham said businesses are keen to support the scheme.

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"I know there has been some concern expressed in some quarters about the cost of the project - but most businesses are very supportive of the plans.

"They recognise that the £50 million a year boost to the local economy will be very good for them," he said.

The redevelopment of Suffolk College was discussed by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) on Tuesday.

Nick Foster, director of the Ipswich-based Suffolk branch of the LSC, said he had taken part in the meeting.

He said: "We had a successful meeting with the national LSC capital committee. The committee then makes a recommendation to the LSC national council on how much money they are prepared to give the project.

Mr Foster said the national council will meet in mid-march to discuss how much the college will get.

He added: "The bid was for up to £20m. I am not sure how much it will be yet. The national council will make their decision at its meeting. Then we will announce its decision"

n What do you think? Should the LSC give Suffolk College the money? What are your memorises of the Suffolk College building? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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