Carlett Park closure would leave a 'hole in Wirral community'

MP: Ben Chapman

MP: Ben Chapman

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Wirral South MP Ben Chapman continued his fight to protect the Carlett Park campus from closure.

Speaking in the House of Commons, he told John Denham, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, that “colleges are about communities as well as education”.

He called on the Minister to ask Wirral Metropolitan College to “look again at the hole in the community” that would be left by its removal.

John Denham praised Ben’s consistency in campaigning against the closure.

Mr Chapman said: “While the college does not seem to appreciate it, this is about community, about making sure we don’t take away local institutions that hold people together.

“At a time when the people of Eastham are faced with proposals to build a waste recovery plant and a biofuel plant, it is more important than ever that we maintain and value sites and institutions that form the fabric of the local community.

“Carlett Park is part of South Wirral’s history. It provides further educational opportunities for local people, especially those who for one reason or another would find it hard to travel.

“We should resist the trend to focus all Wirral’s facilities solely in the north of the peninsula. "The debate in the House also emphasised the importance of contact between further educational institution and local businesses.

“I don’t believe this is something that that Wirral Metropolitan College has taken seriously enough,” said Mr Chapman.

He added: “If he had done so, with the proximity of many large, progressive companies on the Wirral International Business Park, Carlett Park may not have been placed in the precarious position it is in today.”

Mike Potter principal of Carlett Park, said: “Wirral Metropolitan College is developing an accommodation strategy that could potentially attract millions of pounds of Government funding to provide state of the art education and training facilities in Wirral, to serve many generations to come.

“To do this the college must provide facilities in the area that best meets the needs of all Wirral residents and targets, in particular, areas where the population is in most need of support – analysis and evidence clearly demonstrates this to be in the North Wirral area. To inform this strategy, since March, 2008, the college has engaged in an extensive consultation process sending information to over 170,000 Wirral homes, 1,000 employers, over 16,000 students and had support from its three recognised TUs and 700 staff.

“There has been broad support for the college’s proposals and whilst the college recognises that 110 of Mr Chapman’s constituents would wish to retain the Carlett Park Campus, the college must act in the interests of the 330,000 people who represent the Wirral population as a whole.”

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