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Paston College revamps move plans

PUBLISHED: 13:23 10 December 2008 | UPDATED: 09:17 13 July 2010

PASTON College - seeking a make-or-break £23m move in its historic home - has fine-tuned its plans as decision day looms this month.

The college is seeking to move from its 400-year-old town centre home to a new greenfield site so it can expand and improve.

PASTON College - seeking a make-or-break £23m move in its historic home - has fine-tuned its plans as decision day looms this month.

The college is seeking to move from its 400-year-old town centre home to a new greenfield site so it can expand and improve.

But planning councilors put off a final vote until the college had answered concerns over issues including traffic, design and community use of the sports facilities.

Now the college, which says the relocation is vital to ensure its future, has come back with an amended scheme that it hopes will answer critics.

Changes include:

completely remodelling the vehicle entrance to improve traffic flow on Station Road and improve pedestrian safety

adding a new safer path for students through the neighbouring Victory Pool site

moving the building a further 3m away from Station Road to respond to residents' concerns about being overlooked

adding a subtle range of colours to the slatted “solar shading” on the front of the building, as a response to calls for a more “joyful” appearance

redesigning the shading to break up the uniformity of line which attracted some criticism

introducing examples of visual art to reflect the history of the college and the work of its students.

Vice-principal Tim Ellen said the college had modified its plans after listening carefully to concerns expressed at North Norfolk District Council's east area planning committee last month.

It hoped the changes would result in an approval when it was discussed again on December 18. It was important to press ahead in the New Year if it wanted to achieve the planned opening date of September 2011.

Most of the funding will come from the government's Learning and Skills Council, but it was a limited pot and other colleges in the county were pressing ahead with rebuilds.

“We have a place in the funding queue, and we don't want to lose it,” he added.

The moving of the building back another 3m followed an earlier move of 10m to answer previous concerns. Moving it back any further would hamper site security.

The art installations would include a statue of Lord Nelson, who was a pupil at the forerunner Paston School, and the Paston coat of arms on the front of the building. There would also be a "sculpture park" of modern day students' work

An outline agreement over weekend and evening use of sports facilities had also been discussed with the district council and DC Leisure which operates the Victory Swim and Fitness Centre.

Mr Ellen added: “The college has been very open to criticism and comments on its plans and at all stages we have tried to be accommodating, recognising the genuinely-held concerns of some local residents and planning committee members. We are hopeful of a positive response. In these worrying economic times approval of the plans would be a real boost for the future of North Walsham and north Norfolk.”


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