Rolle College: bid may be floundering

PUBLISHED: 02:01 17 April 2008 | UPDATED: 08:59 10 June 2010

A bid to retain Rolle College for educational purposes appears to be floundering as relations deteriorate between the University of Plymouth and a consortium eyeing the site. The university - whose dismissal of consortium negotiations has been branded un

A bid to retain Rolle College for educational purposes appears to be floundering as relations deteriorate between the University of Plymouth and a consortium eyeing the site.The university - whose dismissal of consortium negotiations has been branded "unacceptable" by East Devon MP Hugo Swire - have denied receiving a formal bid by the team backing a purchase on behalf of Exmouth Community College and Exeter College.Principle backers Devon County Council met the university in February. Council leader Brian Greenslade maintains his letter made the consortium's position clear. However, university deputy vice chancellor and director of corporate finance Graham Raikes said: "During the meeting an informal bid was mentioned by the consortium. However, neither we nor GVA Grimleys, our appointed agents, have received any written confirmation from the county council of this offer. All offers must be made through GVA Grimleys."It is unclear how the consortium will proceed, having apparently not met the university's valuation for the site. A fortnight ago Mr Raikes said the university "was conscious of the need to move to a sale which would meet our public sector asset management requirements to secure best value".Later Mr Swire claimed the university had never fixed an asking price for the consortium, who had previously enjoyed exclusive negotiations for the site.Cllr Greenslade would not be drawn on any future plans for fresh bids, but said: "Hugo and I certainly wrote to them [the university], but I suspect they did not want to play."A petition set up by current Rolle Student Union president Mike Austin, calling for continuing education at the site, has garnered more than 440 signatories. A group on the networking site Facebook, with the same aim, has 345 members.The county council has faced criticism from the district council for failing to plough cash from an airport sale into Rolle.Cllr Greenslade described its offer as "more than generous", and called on EDDC to come up with funding of its own.The council leader admitted that Exmouth was in need of education facilities. He said a new secondary school may yet be needed - with costs of up to £40 million.

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