Bovis to develop Rolle?

PUBLISHED: 12:20 06 August 2010

BOVIS Homes are understood to be the preferred bidders to buy the prime Rolle College site.

A source inside the University of Plymouth, which owns Rolle, told the Journal the Kent-based developers' bid for the Douglas Avenue site was the favourite.

A source inside the University of Plymouth, which owns Rolle, told the Journal the Kent-based developers’ bid for the Douglas Avenue site was the favourite.

The Journal understands the university chose its preferred bidder at the beginning of July - but, nearly a month later, it has so far refused to reveal its decision.

Gordon Isgrove, of the university’s property consultants, GVA Grimley, said: “When we are in a position to let you have further information, we will, of course, do so.”

Bovis Homes was yesterday asked for a comment, but had not responded when we went to press.

Two years ago, the college was closed after 59 years, with teacher training moved to Plymouth, causing a huge dent in the town’s economy.

Devon County Council reneged on a promise to buy part of the site for post 16 education and the site was put on the open market.

Rolle Exmouth Limited was set up by local campaigners in a bid to ensure the site was not just sold to the highest bidder, as promised by the late Vice Chancellor Professor Roland Levinsky, and would retain a community element.

Town councillors were briefed behind closed-doors on Monday, but town clerk John Wokersien yesterday refused to confirm or deny whether Bovis Homes had filed the chosen bid.

“This is the only opportunity Exmouth has got to find a community solution for Rolle College,” he said. “We are working in the best interests of Exmouth and people will have to trust those working on their behalf This is a sensitive time for the negotiations and we will share the information as soon as we are able.”

Mayor Darryl Nicholas said: “If Bovis are the preferred developer, it is hoped they understand the importance of this site to our town.

“The single most important element to any proposal will be to give the community-led Rolle Ltd group the chance to execute their business plan and strategy - which means the retention of key buildings for educational and community use.”

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