THE MP for Portsmouth North has vowed to try and secure more money from the government towards the bid to create its first University Technical College.
The £11m construction of a specialist engineering and manufacturing hub at the site of Trafalgar School, in Hilsea, took a step forward after the council’s planning committee backed the plan.
The UTC is a great model for securing partnerships, and I’d be keen to help secure further funds if that would be welcome.Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt
The government will have the final say over whether it happens due to concerns by Sport England over the facility being built on playing fields.
And the body is concerned that a proposed three-court sports hall can’t be made bigger as there isn’t enough money in the budget for one.
But Penny Mordaunt has vowed to try and get extra money from the Department for Education – which is funding the project – so the level of sport available for pupils is improved.
It comes after Lib Dem councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said the government should hand over more cash – and the planning committee agreed Ms Mordaunt should be the one responsible for helping to make that happen.
She said: ‘The UTC is a great model for securing partnerships, and I’d be keen to help secure further funds if that would be welcome.
‘I’ve been working with a number of sports bodies including Sport England and the Lawn Tennis Association about further investment in the north of the city.
‘The UTC and the rebuild if King Richard are two opportunities to lever in further capital investment for those facilities.
‘The key for me is that both the students and the community can benefit.
‘What’s also critical is any facility built is also maintained and sustainable. There needs to be a business plan, which should reflect the needs of the local community too.’
But Tory councillor Ken Ellcome, who sits on the planning committee, believes the priority is to see the UTC be created – and education should come before the extra push for more sport.
Cllr Ellcome said: ‘The bottom line for me is, we need the college. If that comes with the extra money and a bigger sports hall, then great, but if not, I settle for a three-court sports hall because we still need the college. To me, that’s more important then the sport facilities.
‘The education part is more important.’