New £30million college development will make Houghall Campus among the country’s best

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A £30MILLION development will make a Durham college one of the best in the country.

East Durham College has submitted a planning application for the redevelopment of its Houghall Campus, in Durham City, with the aim of revolutionising the facilities on site.

The site is already one of the region’s leading providers of land-based courses and training, and bosses say the proposed development is needed to ensure it has the facilities going forward to match its reputation for education and training.

Proposals involve the refurbishment and extension to the main entrance building, to provide a new glass lobby and double-heighted atrium.

It also includes the building of a new animal care centre, cattle shed, including pens for 80 cows, sheep shed with pens for 266 sheep, large pig shed, potting shed and floristry store, kennels, dog agility unit, an aviary and equine centre with 36 stables.

College principal Suzanne Duncan, said: “Our ambition is for Houghall to be regarded as one of the leading land-based training providers in the country.

“In order to make this happen we need to completely redevelop the site.

“Many of the buildings were built in the 1930s, so to ensure we can deliver the best possible education and training we need modern facilities matching those out in industry.

“The students at our state-of-the-art facility in Peterlee have benefited greatly from the new build campus there (since January 2009), and we dearly want facilities of the same quality for those attending Houghall too.

“The redevelopment will ensure a bright future for Houghall, and our students – and employers – will have the necessary skills to help boost the rural economy of County Durham and beyond.”

The college, which trains more than 1,000 students at Houghall every year in a range of courses, including agriculture, animal care, arboriculture and forestry, environmental management, horse management, floristry and horticulture, is making various bids for capital funding in order to realise its ambitious plans for the site, which it hopes to complete by September 2015.

East Durham College received funding for the planning process from the Skills Funding Agency, SFA, the government body that funds and promotes adult further education and skills training in England.