�78m college revamp to get go-ahead

MULTI-MILLION pound plans to redevelop a Suffolk college are set to be given the green light when they go before planners next week.

MULTI-MILLION pound plans to redevelop a Suffolk college are set to be given the green light when they go before planners next week.

West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds recently won nearly �60million in funding from the Learning and Skills Council towards a major redevelopment of the site.

The college has now submitted plans for new teaching facilities and St Edmundsbury Borough Council will decide whether to approve the scheme next Thursday.

Planning officers have recommended the development control committee approve the scheme.

College bosses hope to begin the �78million redevelopment project later this year with completion of works anticipated in 2012.

They say the work is needed because some of the buildings there are 50 or 60 years old.

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The �20m shortfall between the project cost and Government funding will be made up from college funds and loans from Lloyds TSB.

In his report to the council, development control officer Ben Woolnough said the proposals were in line with the college's overall masterplan.

“The scheme represents a significant investment in the development of educational facilities in Bury and the area.”

He has called on councillors to approve the scheme - but only once a deal has been struck between the college and the council for some kind of improvements in the area which would benefit the wider community.

If the scheme is approved, about 200 parking spaces will be lost while building work is underway. The college will be encouraging its staff who live nearby to either walk or catch a bus into work each morning and discussions are under way between the college and St Edmundsbury Borough Council about using parking spaces at the multi-storey in Parkway.