Buckinghamshire College Group is planning to develop a town centre site in High Wycombe to create a modern, purpose-built campus for technical, professional and vocational skills, education and training.
The multi-million pound plans are at an early stage but the College’s offer to acquire neighbouring sites in Oxford Road and Brook Street for the new campus has now been agreed. The sites are currently owned by Buckinghamshire Council which is keen to see the sites enhanced as prominent town centre locations.
The Council at its cabinet meeting on Tuesday (March 2) agreed to sell the Oxford Road corner site and enter into a long-term lease of the Brook Street site to the College.
The proposals are still subject to planning permission being granted and the College raising the funding necessary to complete the project. If it goes ahead, the new campus will enable the College to relocate the activities currently delivered at Amersham and Flackwell Heath. This would take until autumn 2023 at the earliest.
The College has been working with Buckinghamshire Council, Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and a number of other stakeholders following a review of the condition and use of its existing campuses in the south of the county at Amersham and Flackwell Heath.
Also demographic studies have shown that the demand for college places is shrinking in Amersham and Chesham while it is growing quickly in High Wycombe.
Principal and CEO of the Buckinghamshire College Group Karen Mitchell said: “In order to continue to provide the best industry standard learning spaces and resources possible for all of our students we have an ambition to have modern, purpose-built facilities."
“We are now exploring options, in partnership with Buckinghamshire Council and Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership, to provide a new purpose-built campus in the centre of High Wycombe that matches the aspirations of our Big Bucks Ambition for the students of tomorrow."
“Those discussions include looking at all options for the future of the Amersham and Flackwell Heath campuses, whether the Wycombe town centre campus goes ahead or not."
“Every year we have a thriving community of more than 5,000 students across our estate who deserve the very best facilities we can provide, in the locations where they need them, and which enable them to get the very best standards of teaching, learning and training.”
The College has briefed all staff and has been liaising with local MPs, councillors and business leaders to let them know about the plans.
Karen Mitchell added: “We have a Big Bucks ambition to provide inclusive vocational, technical and professional skills education and training that is high quality, cost effective and provides progression into employment, apprenticeships, further and higher education."
“In order to achieve this ambition our business plan is to invest in providing the best industry standard learning spaces, facilities, resources and technology possible using resources wisely, efficiently and effectively to build a sustainable future.”