Nick Clegg’s Blog


Outside Westminster: Norwich
25 June, 2009, 5:10 pm
Filed under: News, Outside Westminster

Outside Westminster: City College Norwich

16th June 2009

Nick Clegg, Leader of the Liberal Democrats today visited City College Norwich, Ipswich Road Campus.

Joined by April Pond the recently announced PPC for Norwich North and Norman Lamb MP for North Norfolk he toured the college to see the work of vocational students in the Hospitality Management and Catering school and the Construction workshops.

Nick, April and Norman were met by Dick Palmer, Principal and Chief Executive of City College Norwich, who discussed with them their plans for modernising the campus which has had a major set back as Learning and Skills Council (LSC) funding from the government that was promised has been mismanaged and may now not materialise.

City College Norwich’s Funding in Detail:

City College Norwich is the largest (16,000 students) college in the East of England and is one of 114 colleges across England that are awaiting a funding decision from the soon to be scrapped Learning and Skills Council (LSC).

The College has so far invested nearly £3.5m in preparation for building work that was to be funded through the LSCs Capital Fund for ‘Building Colleges for the Future’. Colleges like City College Norwich have been encouraged to exceed initial proposals in redeveloping their sites, by the LSC and the Government.

Their redevelopment plan started life in 2004 and the college has worked closely with the LSC at every stage of its development, which included significantly increasing the scale of the project in April 2007 – a move that was originally requested and subsequently endorsed by the LSC.

The LSC announced on 27 January 2009 that it would be deferring formal approval of redevelopment projects for a period of 3 months, as demand for capital funding is now outstripping the ‘Building Colleges for the Future budget’.

Following a meeting of the LSC’s Capital Committee on 4 March 2009, Skills Secretary John Denham announced that all bar 8 colleges who had their Applications in Detail (AiD) approved will now have to await the outcome of a period of consultation with the Further Education (FE) sector on how schemes should be prioritised.

A further 79 colleges which have already obtained approval in principle will require nearly £2.7bn. Additionally, there are 65 colleges, including City College Norwich, awaiting decisions on their Applications in Principle (AiP). These schemes would require a further £3bn of government funding. In short, there is around £5.7bn worth of redevelopment bids (144 colleges in total) and only £2.3bn in the FE capital fund.

Sir Andrew Foster has been asked by the Government to conduct an independent inquiry into how this situation arose, with many colleges, like City College Norwich, having now reached an advanced stage of planning and invested considerable sums to get this far.

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