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Old facade will be a part of new college

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: February 15, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

An artist's impression of how the new Leek College campus will look.

An artist's impression of how the new Leek College campus will look.

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AN ASSURANCE has been given by a college principal that the historical features of a building set to be demolished as part of a major redevelopment will be retained in the new site..

Last September Staffordshire Moorlands District Council's planning applications committee gave approval to Leek College to redevelop its site.

Permission included the demolition of the Carr Gymnasium building, which has a historical ceiling and a facade designed by architect William Sugden.

Last month members of Leek Civic Society met with Staffordshire Moorlands MP Karen Bradley to raise their concerns over the facade, which they felt should be incorporated into the new scheme at its present location.

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However, Leek College principal Len Tildsley confirmed it is to be relocated within the development.

He said: "Full planning approval was granted unanimously with no objections from members of the public.

"Sometime later, we also received specialist listed building consent to allow us to demolish a modern extension.

"As expected , the approval came with a long list of conditions. The three fundamental conditions were that a new home had to be found for the17th century ceiling, which had been stored for decades on the wall of the Carr Gymnasium; secondly, a full archaeological building record had to be produced for both the Carr Gymnasium and the virtually derelict mill building near the back of the campus; and finally the entrance porch and its commemorative plaque had to be retained on site in an appropriate location."

Mr Tildsley added: "The proposal to relocate the porch and plaque was submitted to the local planning authority some time ago and sets out our plans to integrate them into the new campus design.

"They will become a feature of the new pedestrian entrance to the campus and will be on display in a much more suitable location in relation to the other campus buildings, both old and new.

"Our new Leek campus will be fantastic for students and staff and also the communities of the Staffordshire Moorlands.

"It will be a mix of old and new, designed to be as future-thinking and flexible as possible, while remaining complementary to the listed building at its heart; a college to be proud of."

Leek Civic Society member Roger Warrillow has been campaigning for the facade to be retained in its present location.

He said: "This building has been present for 113 years.

"It can be seen from the college and Nicholson Institute entrances

"If it is demolished it will spoil the view as you will see new buildings instead of the Sugden one.

"Are the architects saying that their new buildings are more important than William Sugden's view.

"This was built in the location because of the view of all the historical buildings. We want it to stay this way."

Plans for the new campus, including a scale model is on display at the college.

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