College move splits opinion

PUBLISHED: 12:36 03 March 2006 | UPDATED: 21:44 28 May 2010

Alan Saunders

Alan Saunders

NEWS that education chiefs have decided to move the Isle College to March has received mixed responses across the Fens. Wisbech's Isle College and the College of West Anglia officially merge on April 1, and will be replaced when the new college is built i

Kevin Smith

NEWS that education chiefs have decided to move the Isle College to March has received mixed responses across the Fens.Wisbech's Isle College and the College of West Anglia officially merge on April 1, and will be replaced when the new college is built in three years.Most people in Wisbech have condemned the move and fear for the effects it will have on the town.But people in March have welcomed the plans.March was chosen as being more central for students, and best placed to cope with population growth. However, A-level facilities will be strengthened at Wisbech's Queen's School, with a purpose-built satellite centre for vocational courses.We asked people in the Fens if it was right to move the college, and what effects it might have on Wisbech and March.ALAN SAUNDERS, 70, of Swift Close, March: "It would help the economy of the town in general. I feel Wisbech has been neglected over the years. For the capital of the Fens it is not that brilliant." KEITH SMITH, of the Ferry Project, Wisbech: "I think it's going to have a dramatic effect on education in the area."I have five children, two are coming up to college age, and we don't want them to go to March."At the moment we've got two who decided to study courses further afield than the Fens in their college years."For the Ferry Project, we have tutors from the Isle College come in for our clients. I just hope when the college moves to March we can keep this scheme going."KEVIN SMITH, Horse Fair Centre manager, Wisbech: "I can see it having a huge effect on businesses, particularly independent businesses and those in Norfolk Street."During lunchtimes there is a continual stream of people who live and work at the college in the shops, and it will have a knock-on effect in the town. It's another worry for local businesses here."It would have been nicer to see more public discussion on this subject, because all of sudden they are suddenly sure that it's going to March." NEIL MITCHELL, 20, of Camargue Drive, March: "It is better as March is the central point of the Fens, but it has to be more accessible for the students. It will give better opportunities for adult learners and people who cannot get jobs. It will bring work to the community." 0484DAYNE MOORE, 17, a student of Badgeney Road, March: "Yes, because people in this area will have easier access and also no, because people in Wisbech will find it annoying as they will have to travel here."It will make March a bigger attraction to people and families will move here because of there being a local college." IRENE SAUNDERS, 61, of Swift Close, March: "It is a good idea. We have got more in March than Wisbech. It is all industry in Wisbech so it will be more environmentally friendly."It will bring good trade to the shops, with the influx of students." THELMA CROSS, 30, of Rosedene Drive, March: "It is going to give opportunities to people who live in March."It is going to make the town better, because more people will be coming through and they will see what it has to offer." JESSICA PUTTERILL, 16, a student, of Queen Elizabeth Drive, Wisbech: "I think it's good the college is going to March."As a student, I wouldn't mind travelling if it means there will be better facilities at the new college." RAY WICKS, of Etcetera, Wisbech: "It's going to have an effect on the company here. Students and staff use the shops in the town and links have now been established with the college and the surrounding schools."I know the Wisbech Tourism Group, the Chamber of Commerce and Regeneration Trust wrote to try and keep the college here. Wisbech is going through degeneration rather than regeneration at the moment." ASH LAMBERT, 30, of Norwood Road, March: "I do not think it is a bad idea. It will benefit grown ups who are in education as everything is here for them."It will give people more opportunities. March is growing all the time and it will help with people's income." JAN WICKS, of Etcetera, Wisbech: "From a personal view, Wisbech is the capital of the Fens, and this is where the main college should be based. "Everyone knows it is the capital. It says it on the signs when you're approaching the town. And students who live in this town should have a right to have options in further education here." KAYLEY RICHARDSON, 18, a student, of Guyhirn: "I don't want it to move. I'm a student and getting to Wisbech on public transport is much easier than going over to March.

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