Setback for Rolle College plans

The planned reopening of the Rolle College site has suffered a setback, after Exmouth Community College decided against leasing part of the site.

Rolle Exmouth Ltd (REL) had hoped that the community college would become a major user of the former Rolle College buildings, which it is in the final stages of securing from Plymouth University.

However, having considered the proposal, the community college’s governors have decided not to go ahead with the project.

They say that as the community college’s funding has been significantly reduced over the past two years, they do not have the funds to rent the buildings, employ extra staff and cover the increased running costs.

Chair of governors Elizabeth Lee said: “It is with great regret that given the current and on-going educational and financial climate, Exmouth Community College is unable to commit to the Rolle site.

“However, as long-term supporters of retaining Rolle College for the town, we remain committed to investigating the most effective way of hiring facilities at Rolle.”

Chairman of REL Roy Pryke said that he and his colleagues were disappointed with the decision.

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He said: “While we understand the circumstances of the community college, the board of REL are naturally disappointed that the governing body has decided that the community college is unable take the leading role, as previously envisaged, in this exciting community project, which will boost Exmouth’s reputation as a centre of excellence in education.

“We are seeking further talks with representatives of the board of governors to see what elements of the Rolle Centre might be of interest to the community college, so that we can hopefully come to an arrangement that will be of mutual benefit, albeit on a smaller scale than we had anticipated.”

Despite the setback, Roy insists that the reopening of the Rolle site will still be a success, and that other training providers are interested in the site.

“The REL board is currently collecting and assessing expressions of interest from a large number and a wide range of potential partners and clients so, whilst this news is a setback, it is by no means a show-stopper.”

REL is expected to complete its agreements with Plymouth University by Christmas, and the first buildings could be open by Easter.