Weston College considers temporary construction skills centre on land earkmarked for primary school

PUBLISHED: 12:00 24 June 2017

The land could be used to teach construction skills.

The land could be used to teach construction skills.

Archant

Land earmarked for a primary school on one of Weston-super-Mare's newest housing developments could instead be used for a temporary £3.9million Weston College site to teach more than 3,000 students.

The land at Locking Head Drove, in Locking Parklands, was allocated by North Somerset Council to be used for a new primary school.

But North Somerset Council may instead press forward with plans to lease the land to the college so it can build a construction skills centre instead.

If built, the college expects the centre would provide training for up to 3,700 students by July 2022.

The land would initially only be made available to the college for five years, although this could be extended for a further five years if the council decides it does not need the site for another project.

A council spokesman said: “As the council’s primary school land is not yet programmed, the temporary use of the council land by Weston College does not cause a delay in the school delivery.

“The report to the executive makes it clear the land will be returned to the council in readiness to deliver the primary school as and when it is needed.”

The proposal will need permission from the council’s executive, which meets on Tuesday, and planning permission.

The funding is also not yet in place, although it was approved by the West of England Investment Board.

The West of England Joint Committee will make the final decision on June 28 on whether to provide £3.3million towards the overall £3.9million cost.

Council documents reveal the college hopes the centre will provide a solution to a construction skills shortage in the South West.

Currently, people training in construction are sent to Wales and Norfolk to get the skills they need.

Council documents say: “The project will support the demand generated by Hinkley Point C which will, at peak, create up to 5,000 construction job opportunities on site.

“The centre will... also create a legacy to support other major developments in the area.”

If the plans go ahead, the council will receive £1,000 in rent a year from the college.

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