No decision yet on plan for Rutland County College

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PLANS to turn a training centre into a college have been hit by delays.

The application to transform the EEF Training and Conference Centre in Barleythorpe so Rutland County College can move in next September was considered by the development, control and licensing committee of Rutland County Council on Tuesday.

The plans were due to be approved by four votes to three but four councillors have challenged the decision and said it should be discussed by the whole council immediately.

The next full council meeting is on Monday, November 14.

Construction firm Willmott Dixon is ready to go on the project and it was hoped work could start in October.

Carl Smith, who is the head of the sixth form provision at the college and vice-principal of Casterton Business and Enterprise College and Rutland County College, said: “We had hoped it would be approved by now but we are just about working within our time frame.

“I can imagine there are some technical issues that need to be sorted.

“I hope it will be approved by full council when it goes before them so work can start. If not there isn’t going to be a building for the students to go into.”

County councillor Marc Oxley (Lib Dem), who abstained from the vote on Tuesday, was one of the councillors to challenge the decision, along with Richard Gale (Ind), Mark Woodcock (Ind) and William Cross (Con).

Coun Oxley said: “Given the public interest in the college and the application, it was felt by some councillors present that it should go to full council to be debated.”

The college will lose its current site in Barleythorpe Road, Oakham, after the owner of the site Tresham College decided to withdraw from Rutland.

The council, which has to make sure post-16 education is provided in the county, had planned to build a £5.7m new campus but the scheme was dropped because refurbishing the centre represented better value for money and gave the college its own site sooner than a new build.

The training centre cost the council £1.38m but the council has refused to reveal the budget for the whole revamp.

Tresham College is looking for a buyer for the Barleythorpe Road site.