A HAMPSHIRE college has spent two years and £600,000 on plans to transform its site only to have them shelved at the last minute, the Daily Echo can reveal.

Barton Peveril management put together proposals for a £47m redevelopment project that included a massive sports facility, a new science wing and state-of-the-art education suites, only to be told Government funding had dried up.

Principal Jonathan Prest said: “It is very disappointing and frustrating that we have spent so much time and money putting together some really exciting plans for the college only to have them frozen like this.

“It is my job to respond to these events and look at how to move forward and develop the college and do everything I can to make sure the students don’t lose out.”

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He went on to say there would be a meeting with the college governors next month to discuss the possibility of submitting a cheaper, scaled down development proposal. He added that he would be lobbying local MPs to ensure cash is made available to help the college improve facilities over the next 10 to 15 years.

In a bitter irony, the planning permission needed for the development has just been granted by Eastleigh Borough Council’s local area committee.

Mr Prest said he was pleased the planners had given the project the thumbs up as the decision would probably cover any smaller scale development work.

He said the college had a growing reputation for science and he would therefore be particularly keen to pump any investment into the new block and replace the 50-year-old classrooms currently used.

The multi-million-pound funding package was due to come from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) which was encouraging colleges to expand estates under the Building Colleges for the Future scheme.

However, when the money ran out about 150 colleges were left in limbo.

Barton Peveril had been working with LSC advisors for months before submitting the application.

Development plans for Southampton City College, Itchen College, Taunton’s College, Totton College and Brockenhurst College were also among those halted.

After the debacle unfolded, Learning and Skills Council chief executive Mark Haysom resigned.