College's site deal is close

PUBLISHED: 12:24 16 March 2007 | UPDATED: 22:39 28 May 2010

EXCITED education chiefs expect to announce any day that contracts have been sealed to acquire a 200-acre site off March bypass to house the College of West Anglia. Part of the site will be home to tens of thousands of students, while the rest will become

EXCITED education chiefs expect to announce any day that contracts have been sealed to acquire a 200-acre site off March bypass to house the College of West Anglia.

Part of the site will be home to tens of thousands of students, while the rest will become a country park with the possibility of later building a hotel and conference centre.

Work could begin as early as this autumn, and March could see the first students arriving for classes in 2009 or 2010.

Acquisition of the land has taken longer than expected, but one of those involved in the protracted negotiations confirmed to the Cambs Times that agreement had been reached.

"It's a case of win, win, win for everyone involved," he said.

An extension to West End Park and new housing in Gaul Road are all part of the overall package that has been put together to ensure the scheme's viability.

Also included is a new roundabout on the A141 and an underpass near Fox's Marina, which will provided cyclists with a direct route into town through an extended West End Park.

Councillor Geoff Harper, leader of Fenland District Council, said a new college in March would provide a massive economic benefit to the town.

"It's going to create many opportunities for the people of March," he said. "We are very much looking forward to seeing it built."

His deputy, Councillor Fred Yeulett, said he hoped for a mini jobs boost locally as construction got under way, and he expected many more service jobs would be available once the college opened.

Peter Stewart, the college principal, said after March was chosen over Wisbech for the new college that "the building of a flagship centre in March will provide a broad vocational further and higher education curriculum responsive to the needs of both the Fenland population and Fenland employers."

- The college will hold a public consultation meeting at the Oliver Cromwell Hotel, March, on Monday (3-8pm) when plans for the new campus will be displayed.

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