Praise for joint approach on college

PUBLISHED: 16:36 17 October 2009 | UPDATED: 12:06 10 June 2010

CIVIC leaders have vowed to continue the fight to ensure Rolle campus is used as a post-16 college and retraining centre and not sold for housing, writes David Beasley.

CIVIC leaders have vowed to continue the fight to ensure Rolle campus is used as a post-16 college and retraining centre and not sold for housing, writes David Beasley.

Mayor and the district council's Exmouth champion, Darryl Nicholas, says that, while last week's County Hall meeting did not produce the U-turn they had hoped for, he was encouraged that community groups rallied together for a common cause.

Backing by Exmouth Residents' Association, Exmouth Community Association and Exmouth Citizens' Forum added weight to representations from councillors and college governors calling for County Hall to reconsider purchasing the site.

He said: "Even if the outcome was a deferral, the meeting highlighted what Exmouth can achieve when it comes together.

"Our argument was powerfully and intelligently put across by representatives from all sectors of our community.

"The fact that we have councillors working cross-party and the community groups working through the Community Liaison Panel to speak with one voice to support the needs and aspirations of our excellent community college and its principal and team of governors, bodes well for the future.

"We have the capacity to make sure our town reaches its full potential - but that means working together and not being phased by making big decisions.

"If we want the best for Exmouth we, as a town, need to lead from the front and make things happen."

Littleham Councillor Mark Williamson admitted that seeing the campus remain empty, 18 months after it was closed, was frustrating: "I have moved from sadness to anger that these recently built, superbly equipped buildings are standing empty...

"As a Conservative, I am committed to 'value for money' and this waste of public resource at a time of recession is madness."

He said that the deferral of the decision until October 30 was 'regrettable' but insisted that the issue should not degenerate into a political issue: "I regret the silly talk by some of mutiny and marches. There is a real danger that hangers-on are muddling this issue for party political purposes.

"Exmouth Town Council has given the strongest possible lead - every member of the council is behind the use of Rolle for educational purposes.

"Now is the time for serious discussions between the governors of Exmouth Community College and Devon County Council officers.


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