COLLEGE SHOCK: One year delay for new Kings Lynn campus but March is still on target for 2010

PUBLISHED: 11:06 16 July 2008 | UPDATED: 08:32 02 June 2010

THE proposed new site at Kings Lynn for the College of West Anglia is to be delayed a year- but its still full steam ahead for the new Fenland campus. That was the news today from the college who announced that the state-of-the-art education campus in Kin

THE proposed new site at Kings Lynn for the College of West Anglia is to be delayed a year- but its still full steam ahead for the new Fenland campus.

That was the news today from the college who announced that the state-of-the-art education campus in King's Lynn will be delayed by a year after college bosses decided to split the £190 million project into stages.

The College of West Anglia plans to relocate its Tennyson Avenue campus to a purpose-built facility at the gateway to the Nar Ouse Regeneration Area (NORA) taking shape in South Lynn.

It is the largest capital project being overseen by national funding body the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and includes the construction of a second building in March to replace the Isle Campus in Wisbech.

Both campuses were originally due to be completed in 2010, but complex negotiations with landowners and utilities providers have already pushed the target date for the Lynn site back by 12 months.

But while plans for the March campus are still on schedule, college chiefs said today that they had taken the decision to delay the opening of Lynn's new learning facility until September 2012.

Director of capital developments Gordon Gillespie said the phased timetable would allow the college to manage the massive dual construction effort and ensure a seamless transition of students and equipment to the new facility outside of term time.

"The college was facing a very large capital build programme so we took the decision it would be better to phase the building over a nine-month gap - effectively 12 months to account for the starting of the new term," he said.

"With two large campuses like this, to have the March site finished in 2010 and then have a main build in Lynn in 2011 to start teaching in 2012 clearly gives us the benefit of a staged approach.

"The increased time between the completion dates will mean we are much better equipped to manage, both operationally and financially, the completion of both campuses and the logistics associated with each move."

Mr Gillespie said the decision was reached after a meeting with the LSC, which is providing the bulk of the funds for the development.

"The LSC believes its financial capacity to support such a large project will be better if the March and Lynn campus projects complete in separate financial years," he said.

Plans were submitted to West Norfolk Council last week for the four-storey, 28,000sqm Lynn campus.

The college is also seeking permission to dispose of the existing Tennyson Avenue site - plus three other plots of its land at Gaywood Field, Ebbs Field and Plaxtole House - to housing developers to help fund the relocation.

Outline funding applications were also sent to the LSC on July 7. Mr Gillespie said the LSC supported the plans and he expected them to be approved in November.

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