Community role for Rolle site
I HAVE had the opportunity to visit the Rolle College site to explore many of the buildings and the grounds. The buildings, old and new, are in various states of repair, while the grounds vary from overgrown to manicured lawns.
I HAVE had the opportunity to visit the Rolle College site to explore many of the buildings and the grounds.
The buildings, old and new, are in various states of repair, while the grounds vary from overgrown to manicured lawns. Among this mixture can be found hidden gems of quadrangle gardens, intriguing corners, lifts, ramps, two good-sized theatres, a fully functioning lecture theatre, the former art department with two
kilns, a large gym and associated rooms, library space with one area still complete with shelving, kitchen with a large refectory area adjacent - and so the list goes on. There is even a large mural in the art department, though its history is unknown.
In the original Devon County Council proposals for this site, only part would have been purchased for future educational use. Having seen the whole site, I have a different vision. The complete site should be bought for the use of Exmouth residents as a community
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centre. This should accomplish the need not only for the further education requirements of our 16 to 18 year olds, but possibly an improved site for the Beacon Primary School, an Exmouth library complete with computer department and reference section. Community organisations such as Age Concern, adult education classes, a wide range of community activities etc would have the space to enjoy the facilities to the full.
Is this "pie in the sky"? Not necessarily if, as a community, Exmouth decides this is what it wants and pulls together to achieve it.
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To begin, the Starter Group currently working on the business plan need to widen their remit to include the whole site. Other partners need to come forward to work towards this goal. As Exmouth residents, we all have different skills and now is the time for these to be used. Whether the skills are professional, the ability to speak at meetings, write letters, attend fundraising functions or just to inspire family and friends to this cause, now is the time to stand up and be counted.
From a purely practical point, four bus routes currently pass the site at regular intervals during the day and evening, so it is not a venue cut off from the centre of town. With the whole site purchased for the town, it would be possible to demolish those buildings not required; some parts could even be sold on with the profit going towards refurbishment elsewhere.
We are constantly being asked to reuse, refurbish and recycle wherever possible. Couple this with the
perilous state of public finances, let us make the greatest and best use of the resources we already have - in this case the Rolle College site. This we can refurbish, recycle and reuse for the benefit of us all and at a much lower cost than building all these facilities from scratch.