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Day of reckoning for cash-hit College

National Construction College learns today whether it has secured vital funding

The National Construction College will learn today whether it has secured a multi-million pound rescue package.

Training and education funding body the Learning and Skills Council is holding talks in central London this morning to decide if the Norfolk college will receive the £17.1 million it wants to keep the site going.

The college’s future will be decided by the LSC’s national capital committee meeting at its offices in New Oxford Street.

ConstructionSkills says it needs a minimum of £5 million just to regenerate the campus accommodation and leisure facilities at Bircham Newton.

An LSC spokesman said: “As the -funding application is such a key application, a decision won’t be expected until well into the afternoon.”

To qualify for the full amount, the LSC has told the college it must raise £4.3 million itself.

To raise the cash, the college resubmitted development plans for 25 houses – a tenth of the original figure – to Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council last month.

If it secures the money, the college would stay open to provide specialist training such as heavy plant and tower crane skills.

But light plant, scaffolding and roofing will be delivered from other sites and colleges across the country.

The crisis arose when the Government blocked plans to raise money by selling part of the site to housing developers in 2004. The plans to build 250 homes were rejected because the Department for Communities and Local Government said the housing did not conform to the council’s local development plan.

A National Construction College spokesman said: “Over the past few months the college has been working very closely with the Learning and Skills Council in an attempt to safeguard its future.

“Discussions have been positive, and we hope we can reach an outcome that will secure the provision of specialist training in the UK.”