Boost for future of Wellingborough's Tresham campus
More students could be based at Tresham College's Wellingborough campus by 2020 after funding was recommended to refurbish it.
The Church Street campus currently offers programmes in motor vehicle technology.
But many of the site’s 1960s-built buildings are closed because they cost too much to maintain.
Now the campus has provisionally been awarded part of SEMLEP’s £11m Skills Capital Fund, subject to final independent risk assessment and due diligence.
The project aims to complete a full refurbishment of buildings and improve access at the town centre site.
Wellingborough Council leader Cllr Martin Griffiths said: “The new education facilities will help with the regeneration of the town centre and will provide a much-needed further education site for not only the borough, but neighbouring districts too.
“This will help to bring training and education back to the heart of Wellingborough and to develop the skills we need for growth of the borough and the regeneration of the town centre.
“Retaining the college in a town centre location will help to promote access by public transport and assist in the future vitality of the town centre.
“It will also encourage the student population to access other services.”
In the meantime the college plans to run an extended curriculum from a temporary location, although the location has not yet been confirmed.
Tresham College was set for a brand new campus in the town, but the plans came to an end when it began looking into merging with another college.
It has since merged with The Bedford College Group, and part of the Wellingborough campus was demolished last year.
Wellingborough Council says officers have been working with the college for a number of years and will continue to do so over the coming months to enable the delivery of a high quality facility in Church Street.
Cllr Griffiths added: “The council will look to work with its local businesses to address the skills and employment issues throughout the borough, with an aim of trying to achieve more inward investment and economic activity to promote regeneration and increase productivity.”
Bedford College Group chief executive officer Ian Pryce said: “We are delighted to be chosen as one of the three build project in the SEMLEP area to be taken through to the final stages.
“Our proposal to refurbish Tresham College’s existing site at Wellingborough will enable us to offer the community across East Northamptonshire a much wider range of courses, qualifications and apprenticeships that address current skills gaps and better meet local employers’ needs.”
Other project proposals that have been provisionally approved include a new city centre campus for Milton Keynes College and a new employer-led advanced construction and engineering centre at Northampton College.
A final decision on funding is likely to be taken at a SEMLEP board meeting in July or September 2018.