Building plans for the new £12M University Technical College for Sussex, UTC@harbourside, to be based in Newhaven, have received approval from Lewes District Council Planning Committee.
The committee approved plans to convert, alter and extend the Grade II listed marine workshop and carpenters workshops at Railway Quay, Newhaven, and demolish other buildings to create the state of the art college, which will open in September 2015. They also approved plans for a riverside boardwalk alongside the college.
UTC@harbourside will offer 14 to 18 year olds an outstanding academic and technical education focused on science, engineering, technology and mathematics, with a focus on the specialist skills in demand by the growing marine engineering and environmental technology sectors in the region.
Students will be able to enter in years 10 and 12 and will study for GCSEs and A Levels alongside technical qualifications such as the Engineering BTEC diploma. Studies will be based around real-life projects designed in partnership with local employers and using state-of-the-art facilities and equipment. The vision is designed to give students a head start in the jobs market or in applying to university or for apprenticeships. Applications are now open for students interested in entering in years 10 and 12 in September 2015.
Demolition can start while final approval to the changes in listed building status is sought from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, which the committee recommended be given. Approval is also subject to conditions including the salvage of historic columns in the sheds for reuse elsewhere.
Designs for the college retain as many heritage features as possible, including one of the gantry cranes. They also provide fully equipped engineering workshop and computer aided design suites to underpin the marine and environmental specialism. An integral part of the design will also be dedicated spaces for employers and students to work together, reflecting the UTC’s commitment to develop the employability and entrepreneurial skills of it students. A modern roof and link building will integrate the two workshop buildings and provide a fresh and dynamic look to the Railway Quay area.
As well as the Aldridge Foundation, UTC@harbourside is sponsored by the University of Brighton, Lewes District Council and Veolia Environmental Services Plc.
Honor Wilson-Fletcher, Chief Executive of the Foundation said, “Planning approval and the recommendation for listed buildings consent put us on track for converting this important site in the heart of Newhaven into a wonderful college that gives students the skills they need for tomorrow’s jobs market.”
Planning approval was given on the same day that the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change approved E.On’s plans for the Rampion off-shore wind farm, which will have its operations base in Newhaven.
Honor Wilson-Fletcher added, UTC@harbourside is ideally placed to help young people develop the qualifications, skills and experience that will be required to support the Rampion wind farm for example, and other renewable energy, environmental and marine employers in the region.
Cllr Tom Jones, Lead Member for Planning at Lewes District Council said of the planning applications committee’s decision, “This is a tremendous step forward for the regeneration of Railway Quay and Newhaven, which the Council has been working hard to achieve. The new college will be a huge benefit to young people seeking to build careers in the growing marine and environmental engineering sectors, and will totally transform the quayside. Lewes District Council, who are involve in the funding of the development to make this happen, are proud to be association with the college.”