FAREHAM College has defended its plans for its new £12m site after they were criticised by Gosport councillors.
Deputy principal Peter Marsh said that the college stands by its ‘dynamic and exciting’ designs.
He also said that any hold-ups at this stage in the planning process could threaten the college’s proposed opening date of 2014.
If the college does not open on that date it also stands to lose some of its funding.
As reported in The News, councillors on Gosport Borough Council’s regulatory board expressed concern that the designs were too ‘box-shaped’ and unimaginative.
Mr Marsh said: ‘We think the architects have come up with a striking design. We have the best box in Hampshire.’
The college ran public consultations on the design at two exhibitions and showed the plans to councillors at a presentation evening in February.
Leader of Fareham Borough Council Cllr Sean Woodward said: ‘These designs have not changed since then.’
The Gosport councillors also raised concerns that a promised ‘guardian gate’ – a striking sculpture to be placed at the entrance – was missing from the college’s plans.
Cllr Woodward said: ‘I agree that we need something striking for the entrance but we do not have time to sort that out now. If the college is going to open for 2014 it will take some doing. We don’t want to delay the planning application for the sake of the display at the entrance.’
Mr Marsh said that the college intends to work on a ‘guardian gate’ which could potentially be an aircraft or a sculpture, and will submit a planning application for that further down the line.
The councillors were also worried the college would be offering automotive courses from the site, despite the Solent Enterprise Zone being targeted at aerospace and nautical engineering.
Mr Marsh said: ‘There is a huge amount of synergy between automotive, aerospace and marine engineering. The crossover between these industries is strong and we can provide better facilities by putting then all together.
‘We also have more young people come to us wanting to do automotive who often change to advanced engineering after a year or so.’
Fareham council will make a decision on the plans on May 22.