Funding worth £9.5m to be unlocked for Corby town centre college development - months ahead of schedule

Councillors at next week's executive meeting are set to submit a business case summary

By Kate Cronin
Sunday, 13th March 2022, 6:36 am
Chisholm House in Corby is set to be transformed into a new sixth form centre by a £9.5 investment.
Chisholm House in Corby is set to be transformed into a new sixth form centre by a £9.5 investment.

The Government is poised to release the first tranche of Corby's £19.9m Towns Fund investment early after 'good progress' was made on one of the schemes.

The submission of a summary business case is set to be approved by North Northamptonshire Council next week to help them unlock an initial £9.5m of investment in the town to develop a new A-level college on the top two floors of Chisholm House in Queen's Square.

North Northamptonshire's Executive will be asked next Thursday (March 17) to give the nod to officers to put together the business case that will ultimately be sent to the Department of Levelling Up, Communities and Housing (DLUHC) which will then make a decision on whether to release the cash.

If the DLUHC give the green-light, the money will be handed to developers to begin transforming the building into a state-of-the-art, carbon neutral sixth form centre set to open in September 2023.

An in-principle agreement to give Corby £19.9m in funding came last year - with four projects on the cards; the sixth Form College a £9.5m; Corby Town to Station link road £8.59m; Market Walk East multi-use building £1.5m and the Smart and Connected Corby project £0.31m.

Now the DLUHC wants to see individual business cases for each of these projects before it can release the funds.

The council's executive are now being asked to delegate the responsibility for writing the summary business case to senior officers Janice Gotts and George Candler. It hadn't been due to be submitted until June, but because of the speed at which the scheme has moved, it is now expected to be handed over early.

The college will be run by the Bedford College Group, which already runs Tresham College.

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"Therefore, it is proposed that the submission of the Business Case Summary Document by the Council is brought forward from June 2022, which was the original deadline and submitted as soon as possible.

"This will, once approved by DLUHC, unlock the balance of the £9.5m funds allocated by DLUHC for this project. The DLUHC approval processes will take approximately 2 months."

Bedford College will match-fund the Government's investment to the tune of £10.1m, which is the estimated cost for staff and running costs for the next five years.

The report to councillors adds: "The investment, if approved by DLUHC, into a new Sixth Form College would be transformational in terms of supporting the wider regeneration of this building within the town centre.

"It would also drive additional footfall into the area with several hundred students attending the new facility and in so doing supporting the wider local economy."

A business case has also been presented to the council's strategic capital board to request the project to be included within the capital programme for 2022/23 and is expected to go before the executive committee in April.