MONDAY, July 14 - Sale plans for school land put on hold

PUBLISHED: 12:33 14 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:17 10 June 2010

COMMUNITY College governors will meet County Council officials this week to try and save school land tagged for sale in 2004.

COMMUNITY College governors will meet County Council officials this week to try and save school land tagged 'for sale' in 2004.

A parcel of land at the college was identified as surplus to requirements four years ago as the County council sought funds to help pay for College improvements.

As the school prepares for expansion under government plans to retain pupils at post-16 level, and fights to secure a new facility at Rolle College, governors have called on the authority to scrap sale plans.

The county authority last week stated "DCC has not yet decided to sell the land in question."

The issue was brought into the public eye last week when East Devon MP Hugo Swire said he was "appalled" on learning of a potential sale.

A DCC spokesperson countered: "In 2004, governors agreed to consider selling the land. On that basis, the County Council invested considerably in building a new hall and refurbishment at the College.

"Circumstances have since changed and they now feel the land is not surplus to demand. We recognise that demands from central government have had a significant impact, so we are very happy to look at the situation again."

Estimates place the value of the land, near the school's Withycombe Village Road site border, at £500,000.

The land incorporates an old swimming pool and stable block, and is home to student council facilities. Up to 70 pupils use the space - central to alternative curriculum offering a chance for pupils otherwise struggling within the academic system.

In December last year the Journal reported a volunteer scheme for pupils facing exclusion ran from the student council block.

The space provided an office for youngsters to re-focus their energies and save their school career after facing exclusion due to poor behaviour in regular class.

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