Fareham College plans to sell off land for £16m upgrade

PLANS Early drawings of the proposed Fareham College building on the corner of Bishopsfield Road and The Avenue
PLANS Early drawings of the proposed Fareham College building on the corner of Bishopsfield Road and The Avenue
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A £16m plan to upgrade Fareham College could see a third of its existing Bishopsfield Road site turned into around 110 houses.

However, some residents are concerned about the loss of green space.

The college wants to replace older buildings at the entrance of the site with new modern buildings, and refurbish and reclad the others.

The work will be funded by the sale of around 3.2 hectares of land to a housing developer, raising around £9m and a government grant of £4.7m, with the college raising the rest. The houses will be built to the south of the site, which is older buildings and green fields.

Vice-principal Peter Marsh said: ‘It is an exciting time for the college. Work has now started on our other site at the Solent Enterprise Zone, Cemast, and because of that we have been able to take a fresh look at our existing site. Our vision is to create a 21st century learning environment, and to do that we want to invest £16m in new, more appropriate and economical buildings.’

He said the college would be more open, with facilities such as a sports hall, theatre and restaurant open to the public and community groups.

Leader of Fareham Borough Council Cllr Sean Woodward said: ‘The college are promoting a new site and not unnaturally it doesn’t need the entire Bishopsfield Road site. This may be Fareham’s last significant brownfield site. It is very much to be welcomed.’

Residents of Wallisdean Avenue, whose houses back on to the site, remained unconvinced.

Wayne Roxburgh said: ‘I think it is diabolical. Why do we need all these houses? The council has destroyed Fareham, they call it progress. I call it disgraceful.’

Leader of the opposition Cllr Paul Whittle said: ‘A number of colleges have done a similar thing successfully. I am a great supporter of Fareham College and they need investment which the government doesn’t have to give.

‘I am in favour of this type of development, which is a good example of why a new town [Welborne] is not necessary.’

Work on would start in September 2014, and finish September 2015. Fareham Borough Council will decide whether the plans get the initial go-ahead at Monday’s executive meeting.

A public exhibition of the plans will be held at Fareham College on Monday, September 16 from 2.30pm until 9pm.