Multi-million pound plans to redevelop a Shrewsbury college have ground to a halt through a lack of funding – with the town’s MP claiming the failed co-location bid is to blame.
Governors at Shrewsbury College had approved plans to expand the London Road campus, but the site will not be developed in the near future as the Learning Skills Council is reviewing all its further education capital projects.
This review will not be concluded until the end of next month but with the economic downturn, Daniel Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, has said there was no guarantee that funding would be forthcoming.
College bosses had unveiled plans to redevelop the site independently after borough councillors threw out the proposals to co-locate it with Shrewsbury Sixth Form College in November last year.
Mr Kawczynski has blasted the college principal and governors for ‘wasting time’ and pursuing the ‘totally unfeasible’ co-location plans despite warnings and advice to the contrary.
He claims that had the college applied to the LSC for funding for its current plans two or three years ago they could have had the site redeveloped already.
He said: “There will be a delay in these plans because of the cuts that are being made across the board. The LSC has overspent and it doesn’t have the money at the moment.
“A lot of time has been wasted and Greg Molan was warned two years ago that the co-location plans were totally unfeasible and I urged him to think again.
“I am convinced that had they applied for funding then they would have got the money and wouldn’t have all these problems now.
“The LSC is soon to be disbanded and then money for projects like this will have to be applied for from the local authority. So it’s very important for both colleges to work closely with the new unitary authority when it starts.”
Greg Molan, Shrewsbury College principal, said: “The college does not wish to return to the debate over the previous proposals, but it should be noted that these were approved by the LSC, the Highways Agency, the Highways Authority, and were recommended for approval by planning officers.
“They were also supported by Shropshire County Council and local head teachers and had secured funding of £60 million. These proposals were entirely feasible and were rejected for reasons that would not withstand challenge.
“I made it very clear to the MP at all times that there would be no automatic funding for alternative plans.”