THURSDAY, July 10 - MP ""appalled"" by alleged plan to sell off school land

PUBLISHED: 12:47 10 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:16 10 June 2010

REPORTS of Exmouth Community College land being put up for sale in a £500,000 fundraising bid are as yet unconfirmed.

REPORTS of Exmouth Community College land being put up for sale in a £500,000 fundraising bid are as yet unconfirmed.

An "utterly appalled" East Devon MP Hugo Swire last night broke news of a County Council plan to sell land adjacent to the college, in Withycombe Village Road.

A Devon County Council spokesman has said the authority is unable to comment.

The school, already one of the largest in the country with more than 2,000 pupils, has campaigned in partnership with Exeter College in a bid to set up a new education centre for 14-19 year-olds at Exmouth's Rolle College - to be vacated and sold this year by the University of Plymouth.

Mr Swire said a failure to secure the Owen Building at Rolle would make any sale of currently-owned school land "foolhardy."

"I am utterly appalled by this news. The Community College has already earmarked this land for building to meet predicted future increased student numbers," he said, pointing to new government policy designed to retain students into post-16 education.

Mr Swire added: "Where are these students to be housed if this land is sold? If the attempt to purchase the Owen Building is unsuccessful this decision to sell off the ground will have been proved a foolhardy one.

"I hope that all those who share my concerns will now come together to demand answers."

Rumours quickly circulated that the story - emerging in the week the Boundary Committee recommended the formation of a unitary Devon council - would be denied by the County Council.

It is thought the profit-making potential of College land had been spotted some time ago, but no decision to sell has been made.

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