PUBLISHED: 09:00 07 November 2009 | UPDATED: 12:15 10 June 2010
So on the narrow grounds of its belief that the educational case for Rolle College has not been made, Devon County Council has now confirmed it will not buy Rolle - especially in the current economic circumstances. Cllr Hart suggests buying Rolle is not a
So on the narrow grounds of its belief that the educational case for Rolle College has not been made, Devon County Council has now confirmed it will not buy Rolle - especially in the current economic circumstances. Cllr Hart suggests buying Rolle is not an economic priority.
Plymouth University, the owner of Rolle College, has also said there is no business case or educational use for Rolle, so in effect both agree the buildings on which £2-3m of taxpayers' money was spent only six years ago are redundant - a 'white elephant'.
No doubt the buildings will now be sold to developers who will knock them down to build housing.
Is this the ultimate in our throw-away society?
When was the start of the policy that buildings financed by public money can be demolished, just because the current owners have decided there is no use for them? This has been endorsed by our strategic local authority.
Our Exmouth Library is also housed in a redundant school. No doubt today that redundant school would be knocked down for housing. We no longer worry about social infrastructure.
£2-3m of taxpayers' money was spent on the Rolle theatre, conference and exhibition space. The complex was opened only in 2003. Plymouth University decided in 2004/5 to move all its students back to Plymouth.
Should taxpayers not be compensated for the fact that their money will now, in all probability, end up as hard core for the roads of new housing estates?
Is it right that Plymouth University, which acquired the site for free under legislation in 1988, and any developer which makes a further profit in building and selling houses on the site of the demolished buildings do not have to recompense us taxpayers so our money is not totally wasted?
But, of course, it does not work like that, does it?
We local taxpayers always get the short straws: we lose £5m from Exmouth's economy because Plymouth relocates all its students; £2-3m has been wasted in financing buildings that six years later are classed as a 'white elephant', yet buying Rolle as an asset for the future of the town is not a priority as we have to reduce public debt.
The result: Exmouth residents and businesses will become increasingly reliant on Exeter for facilities so, in effect, Exmouth becomes a dormitory suburb of Exeter in all but name.
Rolle is a symbol of the general malaise that smothers our society: of a system characterised by short-term thinking, lack of any strategic vision, where everything is justified on narrow organisational needs, where there is no civic responsibility by organisations to the broader public good and which results in ordinary people being ignored and fleeced.
Are we going to let this state of affairs continue to blight our children's lives?
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