15:57 Monday 27 January 2014

Town hall building to make way for university technical college in multi-million pound deal

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

PART of Burton’s town hall building has been confirmed as the site for a new university technical college (UTC) in a multi-million pound deal.

East Staffordshire Borough Council has agreed in principle to the sale of the town hall extension, which has been empty since 2011.

Proposed by Burton and South Derbyshire College and backed by major names including Nestle, St George’s Park and Toyota, the UTC will offer 600 places to 14-19 year-olds, applying specific emphasis on training young people for a career after education.

It is expected to open in September 2015 and will offer core GCSE and A-level subjects, bio-medical sciences, engineering as well and vocational courses.

The 1930s town hall building was put up for sale in October, having being vacant since the borough council relocated to The Maltsters, in Wetmore Road.

The car park has also been sold along with the building, with chiefs admitting ‘work would need to be done’ to overcome fears about parking and congestion.

The council said the cash from the sale would be ‘re-invested in East Staffordshire’.

Dawn Ward, Burton and South Derbyshire College principal, said: “Embracing the UTC model extends critical opportunities for young people to access comprehensive academic study, alongside technical skills training for an early age.

“It will create the scientists and technicians of the future, not only providing learners with academic rigour but also the technical knowledge and skills that industry demands.”

Patricia Ackroyd, the borough council’s deputy leader for built environment added: “The investment totals many millions of pounds and clearly was the best option for the building.”

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