Blow for college in skills centre bid

Blow for college in skills centre bid

Blow for college in skills centre bid

First published in News

SIGNIFICANT revisions to Test Valley’s Local Plan for the borough have been agreed by full council – but they don’t include changes that might have helped Andover College’s finances.

The college wants land at Littlebridge, south-west of Andover, included in the plan – a measure that would have enabled it to release £10m of assets to support its investment in a new technology skills centre.

College principal Tim Jackson, pictured right, attended the full council meeting to make his case.

Following the council’s decision, he said: “Clearly, I’m disappointed by the decision, but the matter of finding the college matched funding to get this new Andover Technology and Skills Centre built will now have to be referred to our board of governors.

“I am confident they will want to do the right thing by our students and by the community, notwithstanding the additional borrowing that the college will need to take on in order to do this.

“We will continue to invest in our facilities to ensure our students, including those who are joining us for the first time in September, will continue to receive an exemplary educational experience.”

The Revised Local Plan proposes the building of 588 homes per year in Test Valley for the 18-year plan period, of which 200 homes would be affordable.

In northern Test Valley, 400 additional dwellings are proposed for Picket Piece and 300 east of Picket Twenty.

Councillor Martin Hatley, planning portfolio holder, said: “In preparing the document, the council has had to make some difficult decisions.

“It has considered all the comments made during consultation, sought advice from consultants and statutory consultees and taken into account local evidence and the Government’s advice on planning policy.

“The plan seeks to achieve that difficult balance between protecting the environment of the borough, while recognising the need to provide homes for our residents in sustainable locations and support the local economy.

“Having an approved local plan also strengthens our position to defend Test Valley from speculative planning applications and provides the foundation on which all planning decisions in the borough will be taken. “ It is anticipated the public session, held by a planning inspector to test the soundness of the local plan, will be held in the autumn.

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