Uni denies Rolle sale
PUBLISHED: 02:01 03 April 2008 | UPDATED: 08:57 10 June 2010
ROLLE College could be lost to Exmouth forever as a bid to save the site for community education hangs by a thread. Despite denying a sale of the campus site had been agreed, the University of Plymouth has criticised the bid of the consortium seeking to r
ROLLE College could be lost to Exmouth forever as a bid to save the site for community education hangs by a thread.Despite denying a sale of the campus site had been agreed, the University of Plymouth has criticised the bid of the consortium seeking to retain education at Rolle. A University statement ignores a claimed consortium offer tabled this year - while reports circulate that the faculty has begun private negotiations.Though a university spokesman refused to confirm talks with developers, deputy vice chancellor and director of corporate finance Graham Raikes said: "The University worked extremely hard over a period of 18 months to reach a sale with the consortium. "We gave two extensions to the period of exclusivity to allow them to arrange funding for their scheme and offered to sell at a significantly reduced price. "However, they were not able to come forward with a definite proposal. We were conscious of the need to move to a sale which would meet requirements to secure best value."Last year the Government backed Plymouth in seeking best value for the site. However, in 2005, then deputy vice-chancellor Mark Cleary said: "We will not just sell to the highest bidder." East Devon MP Hugo Swire said any move to sell before replying to the consortium's offer was "unacceptable".After accompanying county council leader Brian Greenslade to present a bid to new vice chancellor Wendy Purcell in February, he said: "The county council has finally put some money on the table. [Wendy Purcell] has clearly ignored the money."I have reason to suspect they are in talks with developers. If [the consortium bid] is not enough, then what is? This is a completely unacceptable way to proceed."The university will vacate Rolle College at the end of summer. Brian Greenslade said: "The former vice-chancellor gave a commitment to the community. This now seems to be taken over by commercial forces."The university could have acted more generously, they are trying to find excuses [so as] not to do what the previous vice-chancellor said they would."The consortium - backed primarily by Devon County Council and the Learning and Skills Council - hope to set up Exmouth Community College/Exeter College facility for 14-19 year olds.Last week the county council was criticised by district council leader Sara Randall Johnson for failing to meet the site's value after the sale of Exeter Airport.Cllr Greenslade responded by calling for district council backing - pointing to the proposed sale of the Elizabeth Hall.