Ironic result for Oaklands College scheme
TOO little too late is the verdict of Oaklands principal Mark Dawe on receiving planning approval from the Secretary of State to go ahead with the college s �120 million hub and spoke scheme. For the college, like many others throughout the country, had
TOO little too late is the verdict of Oaklands principal Mark Dawe on receiving planning approval from the Secretary of State to go ahead with the college's �120 million hub and spoke scheme.
For the college, like many others throughout the country, had already fallen foul of the Learning Skills Council (LSC) funding crisis even before it got the Secretary of State's decision this week.
And to add to the gloom Mr Dawe has been told the college is also now unlikely to recoup the �9 million it has spent so far in getting the scheme "shovel-ready".
He commented this week: "The truth is we would be quaffing champagne by now toasting the success of our new-look college if the funding had not been frozen."
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The college, which has two campuses in St Albans, had hoped to build a new "hub" at the Smallford campus in Hatfield Road with "spokes" at the St Albans, Welwyn Garden City and Borehamwood campuses.
The funding trouble started when the soon-to-be dismantled Learning Skills Council (LSC) promised Oaklands �60 million but found itself in a mess when it ran out of funds. The Government mounted a �500 million rescue package to be shared between 80 colleges but Oaklands was not one of the 13 selected for funding.
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The only crumb of comfort for Oaklands was that the LSC appeared to be prepared to refund the �9 million spent so far on the project but Mr Dawe learnt this week that it was unlikely.
He said: "The fact that we probably won't get the �9 million refunded is more of an incentive for us to try and find funding - possibly from the banks."
Two housing projects have been linked to the Oaklands scheme - one of which will now go ahead but the other will not happen unless funding is found to enable the new college to be built.
Wimpey's, the builders, own both sites but development of the glasshouse site at Smallford with 38 homes is on Green Belt land was always contingent upon the college scheme being built.
But Wimpey's will now start building 34 homes at the old Home Farm site between Hill End Lane and Highfield Lane, St Albans, which will include 12 affordable homes 65 parking spaces and landscaping.