College revamp gets councillors’ backing

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MAJOR work to bring buildings at West Suffolk College into the 21st century are to start later this year after planners gave the go- ahead.

Parts of the college site in Bury St Edmunds date back to the 1960s and are no longer considered fit for purpose.

A new three-storey further education building is to be built following the demolition of the single-storey Burma House.

The college has also agreed to a suggestion by Cllr David Nettleton to keep bricks from a section of Grade II listed wall which is to be removed. The bricks will then be used to repair another section of the same wall.

The plans were unanimously approved by St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s development control committee on Thursday despite objections from The Victorian Society, a local resident and Suffolk County Council’s archaeological service over the loss of part of the wall.

The Suffolk Regiment Old Comrades Association has also called for the wall to stay. Chairman Tim Davies said: “We just don’t think it is necessary for it to be removed. It is an historic wall. They have lived with it all this time.”

David Howells, deputy principal at the college, said he was delighted the plans had been approved.

“RG Carter has been appointed as the main contractor and we will be working with them and the architects, Pick Everard, with a view to starting on site early in the autumn. The building is scheduled for completion towards the end of 2012,” he said.

The planning approval came just a day after the college announced that it had received £1.8 million from University Campus Suffolk towards the revamp of Suffolk House, as the college’s higher education building. More than 700 students are currently studying for degree level courses at the campus.

The building will be re-clad, while it will also get a new roof, parts of the interior will be remodelled and the heating system improved.

The work will start immediately and is expected to take about two years to finish.