Optimism over college bid

PROJECT bosses behind the bid to create a state-of-the-art further education centre in Suffolk today spoke of their optimism that the design will win approval.

PROJECT bosses behind the bid to create a state-of-the-art further education centre in Suffolk today spoke of their optimism that the design will win approval.

Suffolk New College has submitted proposals to build a £60million structure and a stand alone sports hall on the existing site in Ipswich's Rope Walk at the northern end of the education quarter.

A previous planning application to build a taller building was approved last October, but financial constraints forced the college to alter the design, although the volume of the building will remain at around 22,000 square metres.

Suffolk New College principal Dave Muller said he was optimistic the development would get the green light.


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He added: “The amended planning application now includes a stand alone sports hall with plans for all weather pitches.

“The main buildings will include all our current vocational and occupational courses along with Ipswich Sixth Form Academy which offers a full and extensive A-level programme.

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“The planners have been very helpful in helping us finalise the submission and we are optimistic of a positive outcome.”

Demolition work has already taken place and the land is ready for builders to move in, with a likely project start date of December. The new college building would then be ready for use by September 2009.

Ipswich Borough Council's planning department is expected to announce its decision by early September.

The college would then have to approach the Learning and Skills Council to ask for more than 50 per cent of the required funding.

The buildings, which climb from Rope Walk to a four-storey peak at the centre of the site, will replace the existing 40-year-old college, which will eventually be demolished from winter 2009 onwards.

The central tower block is expected to be knocked down in spring 2010.

The new college will include a fine dining restaurant overlooking Alexandra Park and glass walled workshops facing Rope Walk -enabling passers by to see students working inside.

There will also be a large college square close to the new three storey atrium entrance. There will be parking for up to 250 cars on the campus.

What do you think of Ipswich's developing education quarter? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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