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Planning Application made for New Calderdale College Campus

9th October 2008

The £50m+ redevelopment of Calderdale College’s Francis Street campus in Halifax has come a step closer with a full planning application submitted to Calderdale Council this week.

The £50m+ redevelopment of Calderdale College’s Francis Street campus in Halifax has come a step closer with a full planning application submitted to Calderdale Council this week.

Key features of the new building, on the current Princess Mary site at the top side of Francis Street, include a three storey glass-roofed atrium filling the large central space with natural light and providing a ‘Learning Gateway’ leading on to classrooms, workshops and a learning resource centre with IT systems and a wireless network throughout. There will also be social areas for students and a refectory.

A theatre, dance studios and commercial salon providing work experience for hair and beauty students will be on the ground floor for easy public access. It is envisaged that eighty per cent of student activity will take place on this site which will include a sports hall, all-weather pitch and two grass pitches to support Calderdale College’s sports academies.

The present seven-storey Percival Whitley Centre, on the lower side of Francis Street, will be replaced by a smaller building rising from two to three storeys, improving the aspect from People’s Park and following consultations with English Heritage. The adjoining Creative and Conservation Skills Centre, opened in 2004 with funding from Action Halifax, will remain. The buildings on each side of Francis Street will be linked by an elevated covered walkway to provide a unified college environment.

“This is a blueprint for a centre of vocational excellence which will develop individuals’ learning and enterprise skills and provide employers with training to help their businesses succeed”, said Chris Jones, Principal of Calderdale College. “This project represents one of the largest public investments ever made in Halifax. It is a major boost to the community and a unique opportunity to transform the college and the lives of the people who use it”.

The planning committee has 13 weeks to consider the application. If successful, plans will pass to the regional and national Learning & Skills Councils for final approval in April 2009. It is hoped that construction work will begin at the end of April 2009.

Additional comments:

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member, Children and Young People, Councillor Craig Whittaker, said: “I am delighted that the next step is being taken towards making Calderdale College an even more attractive centre for learning both for students from within the borough and beyond.

“As one of the biggest public sector investments ever made in Calderdale, this will provide state of the art facilities for learners in Calderdale. It will also provide opportunities to work more closely with local businesses and make Calderdale an even more attractive place to live, work and study.

“This investment will also help us to meet a number of priorities in the Local Area Agreement relating to children and young people, the environment, economy and enterprise and healthier communities”, he added.

Roger Harvey, Chairman of Harveys of Halifax and Chairman of Action Halifax, welcomed the news of the application: "The current downturn in the economy makes investment in training and enterprise skills even more vital to give businesses a competitive edge", he said. "The college's Creative & Conservation Skills Centre, funded by Action Halifax, has been very successful and this further major investment demonstrates a confidence in the college's ability to deliver".

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