Campus deal moves ahead

exterior Chesterfield College Clowne Campus.
exterior Chesterfield College Clowne Campus.

BOLSOVER District Council is one step closer to moving its headquarters to the Clowne college campus after it formally approved plans to purchase the property.

Chesterfield College is selling its multi-million pound Clowne campus after it has struggled with a lack of funding and a limited demand for courses and the district council approved its plans to buy the campus following a meeting on Wednesday, October 19.

Cllr Alan Tomlinson, district council regeneration chief, said: “These are exciting times. “Purchasing the Clowne campus will help the village in terms of regeneration and will attract more people to the community meaning they will spend more in the local shops and businesses.”

The 12.5acre Clowne campus, on High Street, has classrooms and leisure facilities for courses covering sport, beauty and childcare as well as a nursery and cafe and the council intends to convert these into offices and develop the site’s leisure facilities.

Chesterfield College has given assurances courses, students and teaching staff will be transferred to Chesterfield and there are no plans for compulsory redundancies.

It aims to transfer money from the sale into its existing sites and will continue to provide free bus travel for commuting Clowne students.

But its decision to sell the campus, which originally cost £12m to open in 2005, is still subject to approval from the Government’s Skills Funding Agency.

Acting college principal Trevor Clay said: “It’s got to be a loss for Clowne even if it’s only a minority from the area who use the campus, but we will support them to come to Chesterfield and still work with the schools in the area.

“We still have to get consent from the Skills Funding Agency and they won’t give the go ahead unless they feel the sale can subsequently be used properly for the benefit of learners.”

The council said it hopes the majority of its two-hundred plus employees will move to the campus by autumn 2012 following its own plans to sell its Sherwood Lodge offices to Morrisons as part of a cost-saving regeneration deal.