Call from EDDC to work together for Exmouth

PUBLISHED: 13:07 20 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:55 10 June 2010

THE LEADER of East Devon District Council has called on two of Exmouth's county council representatives to make a joint bid for County Hall to do more to secure a continuation of educational facilities on the Rolle College campus.

THE LEADER of East Devon District Council has called on two of Exmouth's county council representatives to make a joint bid for County Hall to do more to secure a continuation of educational facilities on the Rolle College campus. Councillor Sara Randall Johnson wants to work with the county's three Exmouth representatives to call on Devon County Council Leader Brian Greenslade to dig deeper into the county's coffers so that a deal can be done to save the Rolle site for the town.She is asking Councillors Eileen Wragg and Brenda Taylor to work with her and Councillor Bernard Hughes to protect the future status and economy of Exmouth by persuading colleagues at County Hall to reach agreement on a price for the site. She said: "It is all very well EDDC working hard to regenerate the town through getting the best value from its own assets. But we cannot secure the Rolle College campus for Exmouth without the county's financial help."Councillor Hughes and I want to work with Councillor Mrs Wragg and Councillor Mrs Taylor to ensure that Exmouth's reputation as a centre of excellence in education is maintained after the coming summer."Rolle is the subject of continuing uncertainty since the owners, the University of Plymouth, announced that they would be moving from the campus at the end of the current academic year.While the site will no longer be used for teacher training from this summer, its future function is no nearer being decided, due to a failure to reach agreement on the price that should be paid to the University.Fresh negotiations aimed at retaining education facilities at the site were held in February, when delegates representing the consortium of Devon County Council, Exmouth Community College and Exeter College - seeking to establish a 14-19 vocational study centre at Rolle - met to debate the cost of the site.East Devon MP Hugo Swire, accompanied Devon County Council leader Brian Greenslade, met Vice-Chancellor Professor Wendy Purcell. However, a deal is no nearer being agreed.Councillor Randall Johnson wrote to Professor Purcell in February, welcoming her back to Devon in her new role as successor to the late Professor Roland Levinsky and offering assistance in the negotiations. Professor Purcell replied that the University had no firm plans for the Faculty site, had clearly declared its intentions and was still trying to develop a solution with the local consortium.The consortium has the backing of the Learning and Skills Council and aims to assist Government plans to keep British teenagers in education until the age of 18.Councillor Randall Johnson added: "The Minister for the South West has called on DCC to dip into funds collected from the sale of Exeter Airport to boost the bid for the Rolle campus and I have to say I agree with him. "Councillor Hughes and I would like to work in partnership with Exmouth's two representatives on the lead group at the county council to fight for the future of the Rolle campus and for the town's economic prospects."Her comments were echoed by Councillor Bernard Hughes, who represents the Exmouth ward that includes the community college campus on the county council. Mr Hughes said: "As ward member for the community college campus, I am frustrated by the lack of progress on securing the site for educational purposes."As a member of the opposition group, I do not have a direct voice in influencing the County on its policy decisions. I would like to work with Exmouth's two other county members in fighting hard for the town on this issue. I hope they will agree to do so, as our combined voice could make all the difference."I understand that, within two years, the county council will be expected to provide this type of education for young people up to the age of 18. Although the cost of purchasing Rolle College is higher than we can reasonably expect to pay at this moment, it may be an opportunity that is best seized now as an investment for the future.

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