Weston's new technology college given go-ahead

PUBLISHED: 12:30 26 January 2015

NSETC illustration

NSETC illustration

Archant

HOPES for a new technology and business college in Weston are a step closer to reality, as planning permission has been granted.

The North Somerset Enterprise and Technology College (NSETC), which will be sited in Weston’s Business Quarter, has passed the latest planning hurdle as North Somerset Council gave a green light to draft proposals at its latest planning committee meeting.

The plans for a new three-storey college building in Weston off Beaufighter Road include a sports pitch and multi-use games area which will be available for community use.

At the meeting on January 14, councillor Elfan Ap Rees described the decision as ‘a big step forward for the town to get this building up and operating’.

The new school, which will be sponsored by Weston College, will provide alternative secondary education for 14 to 19-year-olds and is expected to accommodate about 700 students.

The college will be modelled on a business, with the working day reflecting business hours and pupils expected to wear smart clothes.

College principal Paul Phillips said: “Those facilities have been designed to provide resources for the community as well as the enterprise college.

“I think it will become part of the college group, but if it does give us competition then so be it, it will just make us stronger.”

The college is currently operating from a temporary site at the Weston College South West Skills Campus in Locking Road and has 190 students.

The design and access statement says: “One of the key drivers to developing the new NSETC is to provide a different learning experience to that currently on offer in the area, one which seeks to offer young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, a learning experience which will promote effective progression into higher education, apprenticeships and employment.

“The college aims to achieve this in a number of ways including offering a curriculum which is strongly influenced by employers and universities and a learning environment which has a career focus, by providing strong links to local and regional employers.”

The college will now work with the contractor, BAM Construction, to finalise the details before building work can begin.

Dr Phillips said: “If it all goes through they will be in a position to start work in the next few months. It will be well into 2016 before it is ready.”

The new college building is the latest in a number of developments to be planned for the area as Persimmon has been granted outline planning permission for 2,400 homes and community facilities.

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