Spelthorne Council have performed a rapid U-turn on their attitude to the Ashford College site. After rushing out a planning brief for the site-for houses and shops - they have been forced to stop the process and think again.
Following the announcement that the Ashford campus of Brooklands College was to be closed at the end of the current academic year, Spelthorne Council lost no time in preparing a Planning Brief for what they would like to happen to the site.
Local Liberal Democrats are in no doubt about the fact that we should be fighting to retain this essential educational facility within the borough - we need it and it should be kept.
A special Cabinet meeting was scheduled specifically to approve the Planning Brief, but at the meeting a decision to put it out to public consultation was postponed without any proper explanation.
Surrey County Council, who will resume responsibility for 16-18 year old education from April 2010, are thought to not want the college to close and there are ongoing discussion to see if a way can be found to keep it open. In their rush to build on any free land in Spelthorne the Tory Council lost sight of the importance of education and they have been forced to do a U-turn.
Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Mark Chapman said "The college is suffering from Labour's broken promises. They encouraged colleges, via the Learning and Skills Council, to spend huge amounts of money on major expansion schemes, only to pull the plug once college reserves had dwindled. Sadly the local Tory response has been to look at how to redevelop the site, rather than save this valuable community facility. I am committed to seeing A-level and vocational provision continue at Ashford, and will fight all the way."