Rolle: stay of execution

PLANS to use Rolle College as a post-16 education college, which seemed dead in the water after being rejected by county bosses just two weeks ago, was handed a stay of execution on Thursday.

PLANS to use Rolle College as a post-16 education college, which seemed dead in the water after being rejected by county bosses just two weeks ago, was handed a stay of execution on Thursday.

An apolitical consortium consisting of the principal of the community college, governors and cross party town, a local MP, district and county councillors as well as community groups, have been campaigning to secure the college as a post 16 educational facility.

But two weeks ago the new Conservative county council administration ruled that they were no longer interested in purchasing the Douglas Avenue site from owners Plymouth University, citing, among other things, the squeeze in local Government finances.

But the decision was called to account at a special County Hall scrutiny committee on Thursday.

And while the committee did not back a motion to ask the Cabinet to take another look at the evidence and 'think again' they have rescheduled the meeting - this time to include council leader John Hart and portfolio holder for education Christine Channon.

Some councillors of both sides were critical that both cabinet members, who did not back the purchase of the college, were not available for questioning at the meeting.

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Their supporters said they that they were at the Tory conference in Manchester, pre-planned months ago.

However pro-rolle supporters pointed out that so was MP Hugo Swire; and he had made the effort to make a statement to the scrutiny committee meeting via phone-link.

Another Scrutiny Committee meeting must be rescheduled by Tuesday - and following that if the council upholds the original decision it could be then debated, possibly, by the full council, in December.

If it is rejected the Cabinet could have to look at new evidence and think again.

However there are concerns by the time either outcome happens the College, which has been split into 13 sites for sale, could already be sold.

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