Minister asked to step in over Forest of Dean college shambles

SAJID Javid, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has been asked to step in and sort out the ‘shambles’ surrounding plans for a new college campus in Cinderford.

Frustrated by years of delays, West Dean Parish Council, which hopes to take over the current college site at Berry Hill, has written to Mr Javid asking him to intervene.

The college, which is the keystone of the multi million pound redevelopment of Cinderford’s Northern Quarter, has been waiting for an announcement on funding for the project from the Government for several months.

But persistent delays are causing mounting pressure on Gloucestershire College and its stakeholders to ‘come clean’ over whether the proposed new campus on Cinderford’s Northern Quarter is ever going to happen.

West Dean Parish Council wants to redevelop the Berry Hill Campus as a community leisure facility, but fears that the fabric of the building is deteriorating so rapidly that further delays could kill of their proposals.

Dave Kent, Clerk to West Dean Parish Council said: “This has gone beyond a joke. We have seen tens of millions of pounds spent over the last 12 years with absolutely nothing to show for it.

“It’s an utter fiasco.”

In his letter to the Secretary of State he writes: “There are two actions which could immediately resolve this sad story.

“The first is for an immediate grant be made to Gloucestershire College to enable it to relocate to Cinderford.

“The second is to allow ownership of the land currently occupied by the College to be transferred to West Dean Parish Council and Gloucestershire County Council.”

And on Thursday this week, Forest of Dean District Council is to be asked for a full update on the funding delays.

Councillor Richard Leppington is to ask the council’s cabinet meeting tomorrow (February 16) on where exactly the development stands.

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