Department ‘considering proposals’ for new College

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The Department of Finance and Personnel have confirmed that they are ‘considering proposals’ for the proposed new College, to replace the Coleraine and Ballymoney campuses of NRC.

Back in 2014, we exclusively revealed that an application had been submitted for a new College at a cost of £30 million.

Among the sites listed at the time included the NRC-owned football pitch at Brook Street, the current grounds of the Coleraine college at Union Street, The Ramparts and Coleraine Leisure Centre.

At that time, staff were informed that they could potentially expect a new build by September 2017.

Independent MLA Claire Sugden has raised concerns about the delay in the process with Minster Dr Stephen Farry.

“The Minister acknowledged some time ago that the College was in need of a new build. This announcement can’t come soon enough for the staff and the students. There is great work being done there acadmically, they now just need the infrustruture in place to back this up.”

Responding to the MLA, the Minister explained that there would be no announcement on the new build until the project gained approval from the Department of Finance and Personnel. He said: “Following assessment by my Department, I gave my formal approval to the Business Case on 23 November 2015.

“As part of the process it has now been passed to the Department of Finance and Personnel for their consideration,” he explained.

“Capital projects of this scale are subject to a very high level of scrutiny in order to ensure they represent value for money and it is critical that due diligence is exercised in such cases. There can be no announcement on this project until DFP approval has been secured.”

In a statement to The Coleraine Times, a spokesperson for the Department of Finance and Personnel said: “Officials are currently considering proposals for the Northern Regional College, and are working with the Department for Employment and Learning on a number of queries.”