Winter Gardens handed to college
PUBLISHED: 10:00 07 May 2016 | UPDATED: 10:46 10 May 2016
Weston College has formally taken over the town’s iconic Winter Gardens site after funding for two developments was approved by the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
The college bought the site from North Somerset Council last January for £1 and development plans were approved by its planning and regulatory committee last October.
These include restoring the pavilion and refurbishing the ballroom to make way for a law and professional services academy and a new university centre.
Although concerns were raised regarding the preservation of the historic building, a bid for heritage status was rejected.
There will be no changes to the original structure, which has been in place since 1927, and the college buildings will be housed between the Winter Gardens pavilion and the former Arosfa Hotel.
The one-storey building to the rear, which was added in the 1980s, will be demolished and replaced with a two-storey development.
North Somerset Council leader Nigel Ashton was on hand to formally hand over the site and said the development is a positive step for the community of Weston.
He said: “The development of the college’s new facility at the Winter Gardens marks a significant step forward in our shared ambitions for the town, attracting more people to come to Weston to study, as well as providing an improved facility for the local community.”
The college has announced its intention to ‘restore the ballroom to its former glory’ and says it will still be available for community use.
Once the projects are completed, the hope is to have created a ‘learning village’ model.
Following the official transfer of the property, work is set to commence imminently, by Midas Group, who previously worked on the college’s South West skills campus in Locking Road.
Barbara Davies, chief executive of the LEP said: “We are delighted to support this initiative which is fully in keeping with the LEP’s drive to improve skills provision in the West of England.”
As well as this, the college has also announced a new purpose-built centre, for students studying GCSEs and A-levels, will open this summer and will be located in the junction 21 enterprise zone.
It will be used by the college’s sixth form students and North Somerset Enterprise and Technology College pupils.