Millions of pounds will be borrowed to deliver a specialist sixth form college in the centre of Halifax
How Halifax Sixth Form Centre and retail complex will look in the future
Councillors have agreed to borrow £2.25 million to help realise a new sixth form college on the Northgate site.
At September’s full meeting of Calderdale Council they agreed to find the funds by prudential borrowing.
Gallery: Stunning pictures show transformation plan for Northgate House
Redeveloping Northgate, previously the site of the council’s own offices, was a key decision and approval for borrowing the cash was needed now as the proposal had very challenging timescales, with a proposed opening in September 2019.
Coun Megan Swift (Lab, Town), said a sixth form college would fill a gap in the borough’s current education provision, providing a new offer of post-16 education for Calderdale’s young people.
How Northgate House and former library will be transformed in Halifax
Coun Howard Blagbrough (Con, Brighouse) welcomed agreement the project should go ahead but wanted a few areas of concern clearing up and Coun Peter Caffrey (Con, Northowram and Shelf) asked for assurances that with this sum of money being committed it would be completed on time and on budget.
Council leader Coun Tim Swift (Lab, Town) said while he did not want to tempt fate measures were in place to manage the project and in terms of budget and timescales these were “as robust as we can reasonably expect.”
In recent years the district has been losing pupils to out-of-area specialist sixth form colleges in places including Huddersfield, Burnley and Rochdale, while some remaining sixth forms were having to subsidise post-16 education out of their 11-16s budgets, with falling rolls – all reasons given when the closure of Calder High School’s sixth form was agreed this summer, for example