Worthing colleges funding crisis

A FUNDING crisis jeopardising plans to rebuild Worthing and Northbrook colleges seems no closer to being resolved.

Both colleges had secured, in principle, more than 100 million-worth of grants between them from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) towards ambitious plans to create new "21st century" colleges.

This move seemed to signal the end of both the First World War huts at Northbrook College's Broadwater site and the Worthing College building that was designed for 600 students '“ not the 1,600 it currently holds.

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On hold

But earlier this year, the LSC announced it would be a postponing any final decisions until March.

There is still no word when the funding would be coming through. And with the news the LSC had given approval to funding which could not be met, both college schemes still hang in the balance.

Both principals have now called on Worthing's MPs, Tim Loughton and Peter Bottomley, for support.

Both feel this situation is as "big as the hospital crisis".

Overdue investment

Peter Corrigan, principal of Worthing College, in Bolsover Road, said: "The investment in educational buildings of more than 100 million is desperately needed and long overdue.

"This is a case of unbelievable incompetence by the LSC and a huge problem nationwide '“ 2.7 billion would be needed by the colleges in the same position as us.

"Our MPs have given their full support to the re-building of both colleges and understand how important these projects are for the town.

"We were all concerned to ensure these vitally important developments are able to progress as quickly as possible."

Unacceptable situation

David Percival, principal of Northbrook College, said: "The current situation is unacceptable as both colleges have had their case for redevelopment accepted by the LSC.

"This review must be resolved quickly and a solution found which allows the Worthing projects to be progressed as a major local priority.

"There is widespread support for the new college developments.

"Both colleges are doing sterling work and serving students well, but new buildings are needed as soon as possible to meet the needs of young people, adults and employers in the area."

Limited budget

Peter Bottomley, MP for Worthing West, revealed the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, had said when questioned that there was 110 million in the LSC budget for national college redevelopments.

But Northbrook and Worthing colleges alone had been earmarked 110million.


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