Council’s multi-million pound bid for school site

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Totnes Town Council have made a multi-million pound bid to buy part of the local community college campus.

The authority has offered King Edward VI Community College £2.5million for its lower school site, which includes the historic Elmhirst building and playing fields.

KEVICC hopes to raise a total of £7million by selling plots of its land, so it can fund urgent improvements to the remaining site.

Some of the parcels of land at KEVICC that could be divested (. ) (.)

In a bid to save the Lower School from the clutches of the developer, the council offered the ‘fair value’ offer for the site, which was listed as an asset of community value by South Hams Council in November 2021.

The City Council’s ambitious plans for the land off Ashburton Road include its protection and enhancement for the community by creating a center for sports, leisure, arts, learning, crafts, businesses and renewable energies.

It also plans to improve pedestrian access to the River Dart for recreational activities, as well as the footpaths and cycle paths to Totnes station and the town centre.

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(Totnes Town Hall ) (Totnes Town Hall)

Because it is a local authority, the council can apply for debt financing at favorable interest rates over 50 years – known as prudential borrowing.

The council’s formal £2.5million offer to buy the land follows a detailed feasibility study carried out late last year.

Council clerk Catherine Marlton said the results of the study had given councilors the “confidence” to move forward with her costly vision for the site.

The council’s market value offer would help the college raise the funds it needs and help protect the site for future generations, she added.

Ms Marlton said: “While it is important to note that we are still at an early stage of negotiation, we are committed to working closely with the community college and South Hams Council to bring this project to fruition for the community. of Tones.

“The site has enormous potential to contribute to the social, environmental and economic well-being of Totnes and the physical, mental and emotional well-being of local people, especially young people.

“At the same time, we fully recognize that the community college urgently needs to raise a significant amount of capital.

“Therefore, we have proposed a ‘win-win’ solution that will be in the best interest of the college and the city.

“That means offering to buy the site at a fair value that doesn’t disadvantage college plans.

“We can afford to do this because we can take advantage of the public sector’s ability to seek debt financing at favorable interest rates over 50 years (called prudential borrowing).”

With the offer now in place, the council hopes to enter into formal negotiations with KEVICC.

If his offer is accepted, the next step will be to secure funding and launch a community consultation so that local people, groups and community partners can help shape the concept and plans for the future of the site.

The college plans to sell about 12 acres of its land – roughly the size of nine football fields – which also includes its sixth form center and gardens, as well as the sheep field.

The three sites put up for sale are allocated to housing in the Common Local Plan.

The City Council says it is “fully supportive” of the proposed provision of new sustainable housing and “careful improvements” to the city, and will work with KEVICC and the District Council to meet the allocation in the overall area while protecting and enhancing the Lower School Site and Elmhirst Building for the community on a permanent basis.

KEVICC declined to comment on the council’s offer.

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