Nuneaton Campus Redevelopment
A New Future For Our Nuneaton Campus
We have reviewed the facilities at our Nuneaton campus to ensure we continue to provide a high-quality student experience that is fit for future skills developments.
Update: 9 November 2020
North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) has been granted planning permission for the re-development of its Nuneaton Campus after an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate was upheld following a hearing on 28 September 2020.
Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, principal and chief executive said: “We are delighted that our plans have now been approved and we can now look forward to moving on with the next steps in the process.
“Our development enables us to invest in the long-term future of the college, ensuring that students at our Nuneaton Campus have access to the contemporary learning environments that they deserve and benefit from the same high standard facilities already available at our other campus locations. The funds raised will create exciting modern facilities that will help to unlock the full potential of technical skills, across all industries, based on an enhanced digital capability. Our aim is to ensure that all students, both those of today and tomorrow, as well as the local community, and local and regional businesses, benefit from our vision for the future.”
The project was devised following a review of the college’s facilities at its Nuneaton Campus, designed to ensure that it continues to provide industry-standard facilities, so that the student experience reflects the real world of work. In particular, the college aims to improve its capacity for students to develop excellent digital capabilities in line with business, especially for the regionally important automotive and manufacturing sectors.
Marion Plant added: “The future prosperity of our town and our region depends on a commitment to investing in the development of high-quality skills. We aim to deliver vastly improved technical facilities, new courses fit for the digital world, enhanced teaching spaces capable of accommodating increases in student numbers, and a flexible and adaptable learning experience that is resilient to the disruption of pandemics and any future challenges.”
The masterplan for the campus will deliver improved teaching and learning spaces in facilities that are designed to support the future of technical and professional jobs, in sectors including catering, health and social care, childcare, construction, media, business, computing and IT and engineering. Learning provision for engineering will be retained on site, with provision for motor vehicle skills benefiting from newly re-built workshops designed to match modern working environments.
Parking plans for the development will ensure that college staff, students and visitors have plenty of space to park, minimising any impact on the surrounding residential area. In response to concerns raised by local residents, the college has removed car parking charges for staff and students. NWSLC plans to retain existing trees and hedgerows on campus wherever possible and will further improve the green spaces on campus through thoughtful landscaping, which will ensure the continued availability of walkways and cycle routes.
As part of its commitment to the promotion of sport, NWSLC’s plans include safer high quality all-weather sports facilities, developed in partnership with Sport England and the Football Foundation, enabling access all year round to maximise the benefits to the local community. NWSLC also plans to improve access to its facilities on campus that are open to the public, including the hairdressing and beauty therapy salons and onsite nursery.
Marion Plant added: “It is time that our Nuneaton Campus benefits from the investment it needs, so that our students are in the best place to contribute to the recovery of the UK economy. We are confident that our plans will now enable us to deliver the 21st century learning environment that is vital to our future success and prosperity.”
NWSLC will now commence the process of seeking a purchaser for the land that has been ear-marked for housing and an appropriate contractor to deliver the new all-weather sports facility.
Learning has changed. So must we
Many of our buildings are surplus to requirements because the way we teach and learn has changed. Our buildings need to be reconfigured to reflect those changes just as they have evolved over our 100-year history.
We need to focus our budget on students not buildings so that they continue to learn the skills which employers prize highly now and our courses flex to how those needs change in the future.
We are committed to retaining a strong presence in Nuneaton – at our current location – with higher quality facilities. This will mean our students will learn in a 21st-century teaching and learning environment.
All of this will be achieved by raising the investment funds through re-developing part of the current campus for residential purposes.
In October 2019, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council (NBBC) rejected NWSLC’s planning application despite:
• NBBC’s Planning officers recommended approval
• No statutory consultees raised objections.
The only objections identified from the public consultation carried out by NWSLC in February 2018 were from local neighbours. As a result of their feedback, the following changes were made:
Improved car parking
The revised masterplan will now include almost twice as many car parking spaces, increased from around 200 to at least 400 spaces. These include parking spaces for those with disabilities and will ensure college staff, students and visitors have plenty of space to park and minimise any impact on the surrounding residential area.
Options for cycling, walking, car-sharing and parking will be considered as part of a revised transport strategy.
Housing density reduced
To help accommodate concerns about traffic issues, the masterplan now includes fewer residential units (195 homes vs 220 originally outlined and many of which will be affordable).
Investment in sports facilities
We are committed to maintaining excellent sports provision on campus at Nuneaton and will be creating a new, all-weather (3G) sports pitch in the north-east of the campus.
We are working with Sport England and the Football Foundation to maximise the benefit of this facility to the local community.
Learning provision retained on site
Learning provision for engineering will be retained on site in existing buildings with some provision being delivered at the new MIRA Technology Institute, recently opened to address skills in the automotive industry. Provision for motor vehicle study programmes will benefit from newly re-built workshops designed to meet the requirements of a contemporary learning environment.
Facilities open to the public
The Glebegate restaurant and learning provision for catering and hospitality will remain on campus and will benefit from some refurbishment.
The Nursery will be maintained at its existing size and will be relocated more closely to the main campus building.
NWSLC is endorsed by ESFA – our biggest funder – and enjoys the support of its banks having reversed a £2.9m deficit and now running with a surplus for the last two years.
The deficit arose as a result of a change in Government funding which has been severely constrained over a long period.
With most other FE colleges in the country, NWSLC has seen a 30 per cent reduction in Government funding over the past 10 years.
Through no fault of our own, NWSLC has received the least funds to renovate and maintain our campus than any other college, nationally.
Government has made it plain that colleges need to take responsibility for their own finances.
NWSLC still succeeds despite challenges
Against this challenging backdrop, NWSLC recently received a grant to launch the IT & Digital Skills Training Academy. This will provide free training courses to help people secure jobs in digital and IT roles which are increasingly available in the region. It will also upskill those wanting to progress in their field.
NWSLC is confident that our revised masterplan brings us a step closer to being able to deliver the 21st century learning environment that will help our students flourish and secure world-class jobs.
For further updates, and news and progress, please return to this page which we will keep updated as our plans unfold.