Salford City College is to hold a public meeting to go through plans to sell off and knock down part of their Walkden campus to make way for 24 new homes.
On Tuesday 23 February college officials will meet parents and the public to outline the plans before they submit a planning application to Salford City Council.
The proposals are for 24 new homes: six two-bed homes, 10 three-bed and eight four-bed properties.
The college believe they can raise around £2m from the land sale to improve facilities and fund the development of new training kitchens, hair and beauty salons and an ‘e-learning hub’.
It’s not yet known who the college plan to sell the land to, but the small site would become more valuable on the open market if it already had planning permission for a residential development.
A spokesperson for the college confirmed: “Following outline planning approval we will place the land on the market. This process could take 12 months to conclude.”
By September 2016 Salford City College want to turn each of their five campuses into ‘Centres of Excellence’ for specific subjects.
Walkden would be a centre for hospitality and catering, hair and beauty and health and social care, including the NHS Cadets programme.
Eccles would focus on sports, animal management, business, travel and work skills; Pendleton would become the college’s A-Level centre, home to performing arts, creative arts and sciences; City Skills would be a centre for construction and engineering; and the college’s newest addition FutureSkills, near MediaCityUK, would be a centre for media, media makeup, IT, coding, music technology and games design.
In October last year the college published a Business Transformation Plan in response to a staggering £3m of Further Education cuts laid down by central government.
Most of the cuts are down to a 22% funding reduction from the Skills Funding Agency in 2015/16 and further cuts of 20% every year.
Without change the college expects a deficit of £700,000 in 2015/16, and over £1 million every further year until 2020.
57 posts were lost last year as the college looked to plug the budget deficit.
A leaflet being circulated locally says: “We want each of our centres to be a centre of excellence, so that they will specialise in different subjects.
“We are going to consolidate some of our centres by developing and selling off some of our excess land at Walkden.
“Selling the excess land will enable us to generate income which will be reinvested to improve Salford City College’s facilities.
“Specifically, the redevelopment at our Walkden Centre will fund the development of new training kitchens, hair and beauty salons and an e-learning hub.
“At our Walkden Centre we want to develop our excess land and build residential properties.
“This will help us generate essential revenue for us to feed into our educational facilities.
“This is a chance for local people to view the plans and discuss the proposals in more detail.”
Councillor Richard Critchley, who represents Walkden South, told SalfordOnline.com: “These plans will have a significant impact on the future of the college site and further education provision in Walkden. They come at a time when the further education sector has faced big cuts to funding from central government.
“Residents have already expressed some concerns about the loss of educational land and the pressure on local infrastructure from these additional houses.
“I would welcome all feedback from residents on these proposals and would encourage anyone with an interest to attend the consultation event on the 23rd.”
The plans will be on show from 2.30pm to 7pm at Walkden Sixth Form Centre on Tuesday 23 February.
Anyone who can’t make the Tuesday event can email the college direct for more information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for comments or questions is Friday 4 March 2016.
Main image: Salford City College, Walkden campus (both pictured buildings will remain under the plans)