Fenland councillors take a swipe at principal for not consulting over campus cuts

PRINCIPAL David Pomfret was accused of being “at the very least discourteous” for not warning Fenland councillors in advance of plans to axe musical drama and business studies at a Wisbech campus.

Proposals to axe the courses on the Isle Campus of the College of West Anglia prompted an outcry from Fenland councillors who have pledged �1.5 million to the Wisbech site.

Councillor Simon King said he was concerned of the impact the cuts – forced on the college by a �3 million reduction in Government funding- would have on Wisbech.

“Many young people are reluctant to travel to Kings Lynn,” he said. “This is an issue not just for Wisbech but for the whole of Fenland.” Although the college would subsidise transport for existing students it would not be able to help future students.

Cllr King said: “We as a council were not consulted yet we are investing �1.5 million into COWA. The college principal has been, at the very least, discourteous for not consulting with us.”

He was backed by Council Leader Alan Melton who said both Cambridgeshire and Fenland councils had pumped large sums into the COWA site in Wisbech.

“There is a huge logistical problem lack of transport to Kings Lynn,” he said. For many, unable to afford a car, public transport was the only alternative.

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“We will send a very stiff letter and seek a meeting with David Pomfrett to make our case,” he said. “We will make it clear that as a major investor in the whole project we are concerned.”

Of concern, too, he said was the future of the Angles which was Fenland’s only stand alone theatre.

Councillor Roger Green said the Angles was Britain’s second oldest working theatre and a proportion of its revenues come from COWA. Students use it on a daily basis and a large number of productions are put on by Wisbech campus students, he said.

The college has set a cut off date of June 6 for consultation on its Wisbech campus proposals.

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