I attended a presentation this week regarding Thanet College?s relocation from Broadstairs town to a site in between the Tesco Extra and Thanet Reach Business Park at Westwood. Looking at the plans it?s an amazing opportunity for students to have access to custom built state of the art facilities, and will hopefully attract more people to go into further education either after finishing their GCSEs or as mature students. Building work should commence in August 2009 and the College will be open for enrollment from September 2011.
The sale of the Ramsgate Road campus near Broadstairs town centre will partly fund the move and one can only speculate but it?s highly likely that the old site, 12 acres of land with sea views and close proximity to the town, will be demolished in favour of a housing development.
Is this just another nail in the coffin for our local towns? Thanet College has approximately 2000 full-time students, 6000 part-time students and who know how many employees, all of which contribute to the welfare of local Broadstairs shops on a daily basis. It may only be for a sandwich at lunchtime, or a chance to get a bit of shopping, but I can?t doubt that this will have a major impact on the local economy. Yes I?m only speculating but it?s simple economics right?
As one town gets a knock, a ?new town?, Westwood, will be developing even further and the presence of the new campus will surely bring in more development and investment in the area (not including the proposed 1000 new homes). One of the talking points will be of traffic and transport in an already clogged up area and I?m told that agreements are already in place with local bus companies to improve public transport in Westwood and in particular with the new campus. Will this encourage more people to ditch their cars?
Have a think about what I?ve told you, and no doubt some will have differing views on this, but you cannot deny that education is something that needs investment in Thanet, and that this development provides a great opportunity for that.