Paston College doubts do us no favours

WHOOPEE! Paston College may have to stay where it is until 2012, or even 2014. If you're against plans to move Paston to a �23m purpose-built home on the outskirts of North Walsham, that may have been your reaction to last week's news of inevitable delays.

WHOOPEE! Paston College may have to stay where it is until 2012, or even 2014.

If you're against plans to move Paston to a �23m purpose-built home on the outskirts of North Walsham, that may have been your reaction to last week's news of inevitable delays.

It appears that the government's Learning and Skills Council (LSC) no longer has enough cash to plough into scores of promised college revamp and rebuild projects around the country.

But limbo is not a happy or a healthy state of being. I wouldn't blame Paston chiefs for foaming at the mouth with rage as the LSC disappears over the horizon with the Finish Line they had been galloping towards.


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OK, it will mean that for the time being traders can benefit from student spending in the town's shops, and Station Road residents can continue to enjoy a view which the new building threatened to interrupt.

But our whole community needs to know for certain if and when the college is moving so that we can adapt and plan accordingly.

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We had heard dire warnings by those pushing for the rebuild that, if Paston didn't expand, it would not survive in the highly-competitive world of Further Education.

If true, does that mean this delay, of unknown duration, could jeopardise the future of a major local employer with a growing reputation for quality and success?

If the move is going to happen, the sooner we can launch a public debate on possible future uses of the vacated Lawns and Griffins sites, the better.

The town is struggling enough as recession deepens. The uncertainty and stagnation now surrounding Paston do none of us any favours.

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