New College Nottingham’s Hucknall campus in Portland Road is shutting its doors, the Dispatch can exclusively reveal.
A college source blames “government funding cuts” and a “sharp decline in student numbers” for the closure, but the college has failed to confirm further details about job losses or the number of students affected.
Hucknall councillors and Sherwood MP Mark Spencer say the college faces tough questions about the reasons for its “unviability”, amid fears of the economic impact on Hucknall town centre.
Mr Spencer said: “It’s a shame for Hucknall, but ultimately you have to question why the student numbers have been falling when there are other local examples, like West Notts College for one, where student numbers are rising fast.
“More students are off to university than ever before and the trend for educational establishments like this is upward, not downward.
“It seems our young people are becoming more discerning, looking at their futures and their careers and choosing the places with the courses and programmes that they need. They aren’t choosing to go to NCN and the college will have to look closely at the reasons.”
Councillor Ben Bradley, Ashfield District Council member for Hucknall North, said: “It’s a shame another business is leaving – it will have an impact on the high street. We can only hope the redevelopment will boost those numbers and provide another opportunity to bring more people in the future. Young people bring vibrancy to the town and it will be shame to lose that.”
Councillor John Wilmott, county councillor for Hucknall, said: “It’s disturbing that a facility like this is leaving Hucknall. I am honestly unhappy about it. It seems Hucknall is always the fall-guy in these situations.”
On the NCN website, the college is described as “ a smaller, but significant centre offering vocational access and progression, mainly for the local community’s young people and adults”.
In January 2013, New College Nottingham was told it “requires improvement” by inspectors from government education watchdog Ofsted.
NCN said: “Full-time courses delivered at Hucknall during the last academic year were floristry, hair and beauty, teacher training and supported learning.
“The college has removed floristry due to lack of demand, hair and beauty and teacher training learners have moved to its Clarendon campus and supported learning students have moved to its new £27 million campus in Basford.
“NCN is now reaching out to key stakeholders including Nottinghamshire County Council, Ashfield District Council and local councillors to ensure the future of the building contributes to the overall regeneration of Hucknall.
“We are confident the building can go on to play a major role in the revitalisation of the town, and will complement the Hucknall Town Centre Improvement Scheme.”