Friday, 15 March 2013

Coleg Harlech Joins List Of Government Stitch Ups.

spent two of the productive and enjoyable years (1984-1986) of my life at Coleg Harlech.
I had the best educational experience I ever had and made life long friends.
So I was Interested in the BBC Wales  claims that Coleg Harlech in Gwynedd spent£450,000 in planning consultancy costs for a project that may never be built.
But capital funding for the Canolfan Cambria centre was never secured.
The college recently announced it has a funding shortfall of £900,000 - though it is stressed it is not linked to the historic consultancy costs.
Coleg Harlech said that the funds for the consultation costs for the Cambria Centre project came from private funds at the time.
This may sound a lot but  it must be taken in context,
For Years about 150 students lived in a building called by one and all The Block.

Many have speculated how such a monstrosity was allowed to built in the Snowdonia National Park.
The Block has now come to the end of its life and the colege had no choice to look for an alternative .
This time in order to get funding it was clear that any new building would have to get  Snowdonia Park National Authority's planning department permission for the centre to be built.and that this would have to fit in with the Authorities vision for buildings in the parlks area.
There could be no Block 2 this time .
Along with student accommodation It would have included the redevelopment of the Theatr Harlech, the development of an exhibition and conference centre, along with business units,
The following year, Snowdonia Park National Authority's planning department gave permission for the centre to be built.
However, the college authorities failed to secure Welsh government and European funding for the project .
The Welsh government published a review in 2010 on the feasibility of the new centre, and funding arrangements for residential provision on the Harlech campus.
The report, published as the Hancock Report, concluded that there was no compelling case to make for providing capital funding for the centre.
According to the report:
 "We were advised that although the architect's plans were substantial, and the scheme would comply with all regulatory requirements, including the Disability Discrimination Act and planning permission, there was no business plan for this project.
"Consequently, we were unable to form an opinion about the efficacy of the scheme from a financial or value for money perspective.

But without these plans going through the future of the Coleg Harlech as a residential college would be clearly doomed.So  rather than asking the college why it spent so much on the presentation . Perhaps the Welsh Government through Leighton Andrews explain what alternative there could be?.
The college recently announced it has a funding shortfall of £900,000 - though it is stressed it is not linked to the historic consultancy costs.
Would not an ambitious redevelopment meet the issues the College needed to address the issue. of its income.
How else will it attract  future students?
This looks like another case of allowing a Welsh Institution to fail through lack of government support . So that it can blame that institution before closing it..
Following Coleg Harlech's recent announcement about its financial problems, Education Minister Leighton Andrews warned the college that he would consider suspending all further Welsh government funding for the institution from 1 April 2013.
This step would be taken, according Mr Andrews, if he remained dissatisfied with the action taken to address the financial issues at the institution or the financial and governance arrangements in place to safeguard public funding.
So once again Leighton can claim to be decisive whilst much of the fault lies with him and his predecessors failures to support Coleg Harlech.
Its time we woke up to the  the way both the UK and Assembly governments are using leaks and the media to enforce their agenda  
It has been claimed that E-mails released by the BBC suggest that the broadcaster conspired with the UK Government to “stitch up” S4C, 
It seems a similar fate is awaiting my Old college from Cardiff Bay

No comments: